It has been a good couple of weeks for Tarell Alvin McCraney, a Miami playwright with blazing talent and a very bright future. On Oct. 24, he received the $50,000 Whiting Writers' Award, a major honor for emerging writers, in Manhattan.
And this morning, he woke up to a collection of good-to-glorious reviews for his play The Brothers Size, which opened Tuesday at the Public Theater in New York. The play, which will also open Thursday at London's Young Vic, is a mythic and gritty drama about the complicated bonds and unfinished business of two brothers in Louisiana. It is part of a trilogy McCraney has dubbed the "Brother/Sister Plays" -- this one inspired by his own brothers, In the Red and Brown Water inspired by his sister and Marcus, or the Secret of Sweet, an artistic riff on his own story.
The Public's artistic director, Oskar Eustis, is rumored to be planning to present all three plays next fall. The New York-area critics definitely like this one: check out the reviews from Variety, The Newark Star-Ledger and Back Stage for a sampling. (The New York Times hailed the play too, but reprinted its review from the play's short run last January at the Public's Under the Radar Festival.)
McCraney, who grew up in Liberty City and graduated last spring from the Yale School of Drama, is living out of a suitcase these days. But Miami still matters to him -- deeply. Patrice Bailey, theater dean at the New World School of the Arts (McCraney's high school alma mater), says he'll be back there in the spring to teach aspiring high school playwrights. And he's not just dropping by to do a day-long guest artist gig (he has already done that). He has reworked his hectic schedule (which includes openings in Seattle, Atlanta and Dublin) so that he can teach the play-writing class throughout the spring.