Playwright Kirsten Greenidge has taken a story inspired by true events that happened in Gloucester, Massachusetts and translated them into the language and ethos of the streets of Boston. The dialogue among the three main characters - Talisha, Annie, and Margie - reminded me of conversations I have overhead on the Red Line traveling from Ashmont to Park Street. Under the firm hand of Director M. Bevin O'Gara, these three actors and the rest of the company translate Ms. Greenidge's words into memorable action.
The premise of the play is that each of these young women have grown up in situation in which there has been a lack or nurture and dependable love, so they set out to get pregnant to assure themselves that they will have someone to love them. Over the course of the play, they learn that the reality of pregnancy and single parenthood is not as glamorous as the newest iPhone or Coach handbag.
The relationships among Talisha (Shazi Raja), Annie (Jasmine Carmichael), and Margie (Carolina Sanchez) are fleshed out as they interact with one another at a tattoo parlor. Annie juggles her conflicted feelings for two men, Malik (Marc Pierre), a high school senior with big dreams for his future, and Antwoine (Matthew J. Harris), an aspiring tattoo artist who practices both his art and his wooing skills on Annie. He leaves an indelible impression on both fronts. The very able cast is rounded out by Ramona Lisa Alexander as Myrna and Shanae Burch as Keera.
|Carolina Sanchez as Margie,|
Jasmine Carmichael as Annie,
and Shazi Raja as Talisha
"Milk Like Sugar"
Huntington Theatre Company
Through February 27th
Photo by T. Charles Erickson
An important element of the story is the telescope that Malik brings to his meetings with Annie. She has decided that he would make a great father for her longed-for baby, so she sets up an assignation for them to meet more earthly concerns, and even knocks over the telescope. The image of looking up to the sky becomes a theme for Malik and for Annie. Another theme in this play is the title: "Milk Like Sugar." The three friends talk about the sugary powdered milk that many of them became addicted to that did not provide real nourishment. It is a telling metaphor for the empty emotional calories that they all have been fed by their less than nurturing parents.
This play, which won an Obie when it was produced in New York. This production features a Set by Christina Tedesco, Costumes by Junghyun Georgia Lee, Lighting by Wen-Ling Liao and Sound by M.L. Dogg. The play runs through this Saturday at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA.
Huntington Theatre Website