Terrace Little Theatre’s production of The Best Brothers written by Daniel MacIvor begins with the sudden death of free-spirited Bunny Best, whose passing launches her two middle-aged sons into a supercharged sibling rivalry, decades in the making.
After receiving news that their mother was crushed underneath a Brazilian gay man in a fall from a float during Toronto’s Gay Pride Parade, Hamilton and Kyle Best find themselves mourning the loss in very different ways.
“Kyle just goes into autopilot,” said Andy Roth, who plays the younger brother. “He’s kind of a peacemaker and he’s not as confrontational, and tries to smooth things over.”
Meanwhile, the loss hits older brother Hamilton “like a ton of bricks.”
“We both find out at the same time,” said Alan Weston, who plays the older brother. “And I… there’s been a terrible tragedy, and I’m gone to the hospital.”
From the moment they first receive the news, the two find themselves constantly bickering over their mother’s funeral arrangments, her personal effects, and the fiesty Italian Greyhound she came to love.
“It’s about some very intense moments as these brothers deal with their mother’s death,” said Roth. “They learn more about their mother, they learn more about each other and they learn more about themselves.”
The play unfolds within the McColl Playhouse, with a few props donated by Uplands Elementary School and MacKay’s Funeral Service. The simple set allows the turbulent sibling rivalry to take centre stage, cycling through a number of shorter scenes and location changes throughout the play’s two acts – some requiring the use of more “unconventional devices” to tell the story.
“This playwright Daniel MacIvor, he’s… well, he’s obviously my new favourite playwright,” said Marianne Brorup Weston, who directs this season’s production.
“The better the play is written, the easier my job is and the more fun my actors and my design team are going to have putting it together and bringing it to life.”
While “The Best Brothers” does explore some darker elements of human nature, the play is peppered with moments of laughter and emotion that tie the story together with an uplifting message.
“The play is really about love…it’s really about love,” Brorup Weston said, herself the eldest of four sisters. “And the sibling rivalry is so funny when you see men in their fifties all of a sudden acting like they’re six years old again – because they do, it just pops up.”
While the original preview showing on May 9 has been canceled due to illness and a shortened rehearsal period, all tickets will be honoured for the next two weekends, May 11-12 and May 18-19.
Then the Terrace Little Theatre crew will head to Kitimat for the Drama Festival at the Mt. Elizabeth Theatre, where the cast will perform The Best Brothers on a larger stage on May 26. Tickets are $20 and available at Uniglobe Courtesy Travel.