Photos from New York

Photos from Saint Paul

The Brothers Paranormal [2019]

a play by Prince Gomolvilas


Synopsis

In this comedy/horror/drama, two Thai-American brothers launch a ghost-hunting business in order to capitalize on the nationwide increase in sightings of "Asian-looking ghosts." When the siblings investigate the home of an African-American couple who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina and who are antagonized by one very terrifying spirit, everyone’s notions of reality, fantasy, and sanity clash against the shocking truth.

Acclaim​ for the New York City Production

"Prince Gomolvilas's clever, multilayered play is gratifyingly subtle in its inquiry into migration—the pain of crossing over for the living and the dead alike. Jeff Liu's direction shifts deftly among registers: comedy, melancholy, suspense, and several genuine scares, achieved with the help of some smart lo-fi effects (designed in part by Steve Cuiffo) but especially through the performances."

The New Yorker

Acclaim for the Saint Paul Production

"Funny, haunting, and brilliant! The Brothers Paranormal stands among the most brilliantly sculpted works I've encountered on a Twin Cities stage within the past few years. Directed by Penumbra founder Lou Bellamy, it features six actors creating vivid and memorable characters. Thanks in great part to Gomolvilas's astounding craftsmanship, it's a production that deftly combines comedy with spine-tingling suspense and imaginative ways of conveying lessons about loss, grief, and how we are each haunted."
Pioneer Press

More Acclaim in New York City

"The Brothers Paranormal makes for an entertaining ride, but one that will also resonate with anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one."

Broadway World

"An insightful look at how people deal with loss."

Let's Go to the Theater

"Crackles with tension from start to finish! Comedy gives way to terror as its Asian- and African-American characters also battle their own personal demons. It's a fascinating, spellbinding, and heartbreaking experience."

TheatreScene.Net

"Spine-tingling! What makes this play special is its ability to constantly surprise us with unexpected twists and turns. This show will intrigue and shock you simultaneously, but yet, fascinatingly, you somehow leave with a sense of hope."

Theater That Matters

"A sublime horror story! "

Times Square Chronicles

More Acclaim in Saint Paul

"A new must-see thriller! Loaded with heart and even more heartbreak. The most successful comedies use humor to prime the audience for some serious, affirming messages. Gomolvilas' innovation is using the supernatural to make affecting but totally unexpected points about loss, displacement, mental illness, and family."

Star Tribune

"A story that keeps twisting and turning all the way to the end! Ambitiously encompassing topics including climate change and economic inequality, The Brothers Paranormal takes on a lot—but then, so do many families such as these. The show largely succeeds, thanks to a well-crafted, often amusing script, and to strong performances that keep these characters grounded even when they’re climbing the walls."

City Pages

"It's genuinely scary in parts! On the night we saw it, after a scene that made most of us jump in our seats, two women near the front stood up and ran out. It's brilliantly written—spooky, touching, illuminating, funny, sad, and sweet. Also serious and insightful about things like the immigrant experience and mental illness. The Brothers Paranormal includes some big surprises that deserve to be experienced in the theater, in the moment."

MinnPost

"Gomolvilas has devised a pleasingly twisty plot that keeps us engrossed and never tips its hand, and leads to a satisfying, genuinely frightening climax. A well-crafted, highly original play!"

Talkin' Broadway

"A totally captivating thriller! Will have you laughing, jumping out of your seat, and contemplating the deeper issues at play."

Cherry and Spoon

"A thrilling nail-biter! Even the most jaded, experienced theatergoer is likely to find plot twists here that they didn't expect, and it is a really exciting live experience."

Compendium

"Billed as a ghost story, The Brothers Paranormal begins lightly, with humor and a comic set-up. But scene by scene the play becomes more serious. It is a ripping good yarn with nifty effects and some jolting surprises!"

How Was the Show?

"One truly eerie play! Will likely send chills down your spine."

Lavender

"At turns horrifying and moving, profound and endearing! The Brothers Paranormal doesn't cut any corners in delivering a thrilling and exciting meditation on the meaning of death and whether people can come back from beyond the grave (and why). The play pushes the outermost boundaries of what we expect in horror theater, with moments easily rivaling the greatest Asian ghost-story films. It fully vindicates a growth in the genre, opening up tantalizing possibilities of what's possible onstage with a resourceful troupe."

Twin Cities Geek

More Acclaim in Indianapolis

"The Brothers Paranormal is the perfect concoction to whet your taste buds for ghosts and goblins at Halloween, and at the same time it explores serious issues in a story that is often tinged with gentle humor. You come away feeling touched by its humanity."

On the Aisle

More Press​​

Penumbra's 2018-19 season is "Beyond Belief"

MinnPost on March 15, 2018

Penumbra Theatre to Revive For Colored Girls and Premiere Emmett Till Follow-Up Next Season

Star Tribune on March 19, 2018

Prince Gomolvilas' Ghost-Story Play The Brothers Paranormal to Debut Off-Broadway

Playbill on March 4, 2019

Photo Flash: Meet the Cast of The Brothers Paranormal at Pan Asian Rep

Broadway World on April 12, 2019

The Brothers Paranormal: Interview with playwright Prince Gomolvilas and director Jeff Liu

Asian America Podcast on April 24, 2019

MediaRites and CoHo Productions Present The Brothers Paranormal 

Broadway World on April 25, 2019

Penumbra, Mu Bring Thriller Brothers Paranormal to the Stage

Pioneer Press on April 29, 2019

Mu, Penumbra Bring a Cross-Cultural Ghost Story to Life

Minnesota Public Radio on April 30, 2019

Bonus: The Brothers Paranormal at Pan Asian Rep (NYC)

We're Not All Ninjas Podcast on May 7, 2019

 

History

2011 Developed in the L.A. Writers' Workshop at Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles, California

2012 First draft completed

2012 Staged reading by East West Players in Los Angeles, California

2013 Staged reading at the Bay Area Playwrights Festival in San Francisco, California

2014 Staged reading at La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego, California

2015 Staged reading by Pork Filled Productions in Seattle, California

2016 Staged reading at Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, New York

2016 Staged reading by Pan Asian Repertory Theatre in New York City, New York

2018 Staged reading by Theatre Diaspora in Portland, Oregon

2018 Staged reading by Theatre Mu in Saint Paul, Minnesota

 

2019 World premiere production by Pan Asian Repertory Theatre at the Beckett Theatre in New York City, New York, directed by Jeff Liu and featuring Brian D. Coats, Natsuko Hirano, Vin Kridakorn, Emily Kuroda, Dawn L. Troupe, Roy Vongtama

2019 Regional premiere production by Penumbra Theatre & Theatre Mu in Saint Paul, Minnesota, directed by Lou Bellamy and featuring James Craven, Sarah Michelle de Joya, Leslie Ishii, Kurt Kwan, Sherwin Resurreccion, Regina Marie Williams

2019 Indiana Premiere Production by Fonseca Theatre Company in Indianapolis, Indiana, directed by Bryan Fonseca and featuring Ian Cruz, Kim Egan, Sean Qiu, Dena Toler, Diane Tsao, Ansley Valentine