"I really wanted to direct a play this year," says director Jason Phelps.
Capital T Theatre artistic director Mark Pickell suggested he read The Brothers Size, by playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney. "I read it and it was amazing," Phelps says. "And then after I saw Moonlight [this year's Oscar winner for Best Picture] ... by the same writer ... I just wanted to do it even more."
The Brothers Size is a three-character drama; two of the characters are Ogun Size and his brother Oshoosi Size. Ogun, the younger brother, has just come home from prison and is reconnecting with his older, more stable brother.
To play the brothers, Phelps found John Christopher and Sean Christopher. Despite their shared last names, John and Sean aren't related at all, but both related easily to the familial dynamic in the script.
"I have three brother brothers, actually," says Sean Christopher, who plays Oshoosi in the play. "So I know that relationship so well. It was easy for me to step into that brotherly role, because for a long time I was the little brother."
John Christopher drew on a slightly different family dynamic to portray Ogun. He's based Ogun in part on his own older sister. "She actually was for me what I am for him [in the play]," he says. "So I was able to ... think back on that and reflect on how she essentially kind of kept a gate around me."
For John, getting to play Ogun in The Brothers Size is the fulfillment of longtime dream. "The first time I read the play, I just identified with the character and I said, 'Someday if this play ever comes up, I gotta play this guy.' I identify with him a lot -- I'm a workaholic, hard on the outside, soft on the inside."
"When the three of us read, when I read it with John and I read with our counterpart Delanté Keys [who plays Elegba, the third character in the play], I knew," says Sean. "In the reading between the three of us, it was so perfect... I just felt it between us, that it was like ... 'this is the cast.' So I'm glad Jason agreed."