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Double Dramatic Doses: Tarell Alvin McCraney and Jordan Harrison

(L-R)  Playwright Jordan Harrison and director Les Waters on the first day of rehearsal for “Marjorie Prime”
Craig Schwartz

So it’s not just Shakespeare who gets dramatically mass-produced in these parts.

There are dates on my September calendar to review a couple of plays at the Geffen Playhouse and the Mark Taper Forum by a pair of crucially acclaimed young playwrights. No, Tarell Alvin McCraney and Jordan Harrison don’t have much else in common other than the fact that theater world is producing their works at venues small and large. Meaning if my September Taper and Geffen dates don’t come soon enough for my liking, I’ve got other options.

McCraney, the McArthur Genius Grant recipient is currently represented at the Fountain Theatre where “The Brothers Size” is playing through Sept. 14. The second in a trilogy of his Brother/Sister plays, “Brothers Size” is set in the Louisiana Bayou and follows the progress of brothers Ogun and Oshoosi Size who are try to figure out who they are and how they can co-exist. The production, directed by Shirley Jo Finney, has earned rave notices, as did the Fountain’s mounting a couple years back of McCraney’s “In the Red and Brown Water,” the first in the trilogy (although the plays stand alone).

Unless there is another extension, “The Brothers Size” will close just as the Geffen Playhouse’s West Coast premiere of McCraney's play “Choir Boy” is about to go into previews. “Choir Boy,” which tracks issues of expectation and alienation at a prep school, will feature several performers from the play’s Manhattan Theatre Club production including Nicholas L. Ashe, Grantham Coleman and Jeremy Pope in the lead role of Pharus Young.

Directed by Trip Cullman, “Choir Boy” will play Tue.-Sat. at 8 p.m. 3 p.m. Sat. 2 and 7 p.m. Sun Sept. 16 through Oct. 26 at 10886 Le Conte Avenue in Westwood. (310) 208-5454, www.geffenplayhouse.com. “The Brothers Size” continues 8 p.m. Fri-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun.; through Sept. 14 at 5060 Fountain Ave. (323) 663-1525 or www.FountainTheatre.com.

Harrison, the other September flavor of the month, will see his play “Maple and Vine” receive its Greater L.A. premiere at the Chance Theatre in Anaheim Hills beginning Sept. 19. Maple and Vine is described as “a fantastical dramedy about a modern-day New York couple who abandon all contemporary conveniences to lead a "simpler life" in a closed community that lives like it's perpetually 1955.”

As was the case with the Geffen-Fountain notices, the Chance folks are remarking on the fact that Harrison has a brand new play arriving concurrently at the Mark Taper Forum in downtown L.A. “Marjorie Prime,” a world premiere, is a semi futuristic tale of 85 year old Marjorie who is losing her memory and whose children try to reverse the decline with the aid of a mysterious stranger. Lois Smith, Lisa Emery, Frank Wood and Jeff Ward star for director Les Waters.

"Marjorie Prime" plays 8 p.m. Tue.-Fri., 2:30 and 8 p.m. Sat., 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sun; through Oct. 19. (213) 628-2772, www.centertheatregroup.org.
Sunday at 1 and 6:30 p.m.