Marcus or the Secret of Sweet

by Tarell Alvin McCraney
directed by Tina Landau and Robert O’Hara
originally produced at McCarter Theatre Center, Princeton, NJ.
May 1,2009 through June 21, 2009

About the Premiere Production:

McCarter Theatre will stage the world premiere of The Brother/Sister Plays, an ambitious trilogy of plays by Tarell Alvin McCraney (The Brothers Size, In the Red and Brown Water, and Marcus; or The Secret of Sweet) as the conclusion of our 2008-2009 season. The third play of the trilogy, Marcus; or The Secret of Sweet, will be a world premiere, and the trilogy has never been seen in its entirety. This will be a co-production with the Public Theatre.
The Brother/Sister Plays are steeped in southern rhythms and infused with the fire of urban music and dance. Set in fictionalized San Pere, Louisiana, and drawing from images of life in the American Urban South and Yoruban cosmology, they are stunning modern-day tales of family and legacy. The Brother/Sister Plays are conceived to stand alone as individual works, but they also reflect on each other and presented together, they comprise a remarkable theatrical experience. The plays will be performed by a single company of nine actors and will run in repertory over the course of two evenings of theater.

Artistic Statement

We were first introduced to Tarell McCraney as he was working on his MFA in Playwriting at the Yale School of Drama. When we read In the Red and Brown Water, the first play in The Brother/Sister Plays trilogy, we were stunned by Tarell’s raw portrait of a young African-American woman’s journey from adolescence to womanhood and his ability to draw on many theatrical traditions in his work, from African ritual to the Greeks to Lorca. As we read more of his plays we were struck by the immediacy of the storytelling, the plight of his characters, and the poetry of his language. Tarell is among the most exciting and powerful new voices we have encountered in decades.
We wanted to stage Tarell’s first major plays in a manner which best showcases this astonishing and prolific young playwright to the rest of the country, and so we have chosen to produce all three plays in the trilogy as a singular event. We believe that The Brother/Sister Plays will be the theatrical event of the year.

Director:Tina Landau and Robert O’Hara

Additional Funders:

Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts and The Multi-Arts Production Fund


The Tony Award® -winning McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, New Jersey, is preparing to launch the world premiere of the groundbreaking trilogy The Brother/Sister Plays, written by one of the most celebrated young playwrights of his generation: Tarell Alvin McCraney.
- Broadway World

Brother/ Sister plays included in Steppenwolf Theater Company’s 2009-10 Season.
- Broadway World , New City Stage, and Variety

NEA Award:

In October 2008, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded an Outstanding New American Play section to The Brother/Sister Plays, the triology that includes Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet. P part of the organizations’s New Play Development Program, the award includes $90,000 for advanced development of the play, culminating in a full scale production. Administered by Arena Stage, the new initiative is intended to help the nation’s nonprofit theaters bring more new plays to full production. More information is available on the NEA Web site.

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