The Theatre Department of the School of Music, Theatre and Dance at Oakland University will present “Marcus; Or the Secret of Sweet,” the final installment of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s brilliant trilogy “The Brother/Sister Plays,” from Nov. 9 through Nov. 19 in the Varner Studio Theatre in Varner Hall.
A provocative, poignant and sometime humorous story of 16-year old Marcus Eshu coming to terms with his sexual curiosity and a dream that haunts him, “Marcus; Or the Secret of Sweet” brings us to days before hurricane Katrina and follows Marcus on a journey of self-discovery after the funeral of his best friend’s father triggers a need in Marcus to know more about his own father, who he doesn’t remember. Those who knew his father only toss crumbs of information to young Marcus making him feel there is a secret. He wants to unravel the secret of sweet.
“‘Marcus; Or the Secret of Sweet’ is the third play in a trilogy, but it works as a stand-alone piece,” said Director Karen Sheridan, professor of theatre at OU.
According to Sheridan, Oakland University’s Department of Theatre has produced the first two plays of the trilogy — “In the Red and Brown Water” and “The Brother Size” — within the last year and a half.
“There is a deep community represented in these plays,” Sheridan said. “And so we have brought the final play to our main stage. Many of the students involved in the first two plays are appearing in the November production.”
Tarell Alvin McCraney, who won this year’s screenwriting Oscar for “Moonlight” wrote “Marcus; Or the Secret of Sweet.” Many of the same themes are present in this New Orleans story. Because of the strong language and suggested sexual content, “Marcus; Or the Secret of Sweet” is for 18 year olds and above.
“The students involved in the production, both on and off stage, are invested in their work,” Sheridan said. “Being present in a live theatre audience challenges and entertains people in a unique way, and McCraney’s contemporary writing invites his storytellers to take full advantage of that. I am sure our mature audience will get a new kind of theatre experience being in the room with ‘Marcus; Or the Secret of Sweet.’”
Performances are in Varner Studio Theatre, which is located on the Oakland University campus. Maps of the campus are available at oakland.edu/map or by searching for “Varner Hall” on a smartphone. Parking is free.
Tickets are $15 general admission, $8 for students, and the 10 a.m. matinee. They may be purchased online without service fees at startickets.com or by phone at (800) 585-3737. They can also be purchased at the Varner Box Office on OU’s campus.
For more information on Music, Theatre and Dance programs and performances, call (248) 370-2030 or visit oakland.edu/mtd.