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The Brothers Paranormal [2019]

a play by Prince Gomolvilas


In this genre-bending supernatural thriller, 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

One of the Top Ten Plays of the Year! "Masterfully written. Exquisite performances."


Acclaim for the Minneapolis-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

"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."


"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

One of the Top Ten Plays of the Year! "In a lifetime of theatergoing, I can count on two hands the genuinely scary stage experiences I've had. Theater Mu and Penumbra's creepy take on cultural dislocation is one of 'em."

Star Tribune

Acclaim for the Indianapolis Production

"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

Acclaim for the Portland Production

"Creepy and poignant! With captivating characters and fantastically scary supernatural effects, the play grips you like a great horror film, but it succeeds because it cares about both the earthly and the unearthly—the anguish of the living and the dead. The Brothers Paranormal is a multifaceted collage of moods and genres."

Oregon ArtsWatch

"Equal parts horror, comedy, and drama! Gomolvilas's script unfolds like a puzzle box, revealing its inner workings in surprising and sometimes audacious ways. When malevolent spirits aren’t terrorizing them, the characters are given the space to find moments of humor and tenderness among them."

The Oregonian

One of the Top Ten Plays of the Year! "[A] touching (and terrifying) exploration of familial bonds and cultural heritage."

Willamette Week

Acclaim for the Seattle Production

"Filled with supernatural elements, horror effects, heart-breaking moments, and honest takes on tough topics, The Brothers Paranormal seems to have too much on its plate. Yet, this is one of the most astonishing plays I have seen in years. Playwright Prince Gomolvilas's well-constructed story speaks to the heart of those who have experienced regret, guilt, isolation, grief, or loss. More than just 'a ghost story,' this heartfelt production is horrifyingly entertaining with countless twists and surprises."

Seattle Chinese Times

More Press​​

Penumbra's 2018-19 Season Is "Beyond Belief"

MinnPost on March 15, 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

Interview with Playwright Prince Gomolvilas and director Jeff Liu [Audio]

Asian America Podcast on April 24, 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

The Brothers Paranormal Brings Folks (and Ghosts) on Home to Roost

Northwest Asian Weekly on October 25, 2019

Interview with Playwright Prince Gomolvilas, Actress Andrea White, and Actor/Producer Samson Syharath [Audio]

Radiozine on KBOO 90.7 FM on October 25, 2019


Brothers Paranormal Explores the Notion of Ghosts and What They Mean to Different People

International Examiner on November 4, 2019


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, and 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, and 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, and Ansley Valentine

2019 West Coast Premiere Production by CoHo Productions & Theatre Diaspora in Portland, Oregon, directed by Catherine Ming T’ien Duffly and featuring Jasper Howard, Elaine Low, Melissa Magaña, Samson Syharath, Lidet Viravong, and Andrea White

2019 Washington Premiere Production by Pork Filled Productions in Seattle, Washington, directed by Mimi Kitano and featuring Ronnie Hill, Margaret Luxamon Hotchkiss, Kathy Hsieh, Sean Nguyen, Van Lang Pham, and Selena Whitaker-Paquiet

2020 Play published by Dramatic Publishing