Preview: In the Red and Brown Water

A new playwright battles old issues in a fresh, raw way.

If you don’t recognize the name Tarell Alvin McCraney, consider this your introduction. At 31, this young playwright has accomplished more than most in the theater biz manage to do in a lifetime. Just a few of his achievements: the 2008 off-Broadway hit Wig Out!; a Whiting Writers Award of $50,000; a National Endowment for the Arts award of $90,000; a Yale degree; and assisting August Wilson while still in college. But perhaps his most impressive—and notable—feat is the critically acclaimed trilogy, The Brother/Sister Plays.

The series of plays revolves around a community of African Americans living through multiple decades in a housing project in a Louisiana bayou. (McCraney himself grew up in Miami, Florida’s Liberty City projects, among the worst in the nation.) The first part of the trilogy is In the Red and Brown Water, opening tomorrow night at the Guthrie Theater. The play follows a young track star, Oya, as she faces the difficult decision of what to do with her future: Stay in the projects to care for her sick mother or accept a scholarship that would give her a chance at a new life?

Staged on the Dowling Studio stage, In the Red and Brown Water is a play of depth; a production that juxtaposes the harsh elements of reality with West African mysticism, joy with sorrows, and the fresh perspectives of a new playwright with the time-old question of what the future holds.

In the Red and Brown Water
Thursday, May 12–Sunday, June 5
Guthrie Theater, 730 Second Ave. S., Mpls.

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