Photo by Don Kellogg

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Milk Like Sugar

A potent new play, Milk like Sugar,  by Kirsten Greenidge is now running at the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Playwrights Horizons thru November 20th.

Sharp, honest dialogue, a stinging and relevant subject matter, and a top notch cast makes this transfer from the Women's Project Theater and La Jolla Playhouse a red-hot commodity for New York theatre.

Angela Lewis (Annie) takes the helm of this intense exploration of young black women in today's urban world. She along with her two best friends, Talisha (Cherise Boothe) and Margie (Nikiya Mathis) convince themselves that perhaps the "best way out" is to get pregnant.  As clearly inappropriate as this may seem, Ms. Greenidge explores the ignorance and false hopes these girls cling to in this pact to get pregnant. Not a one dimensional play by any means, Angela simultaneously has to deal with her mother (Myrna) at home - played to perfection by the extraordinarily talented Tonya Pinkins.  She, herself, clings onto the little she has - money, family, a job and her dream of writing.  Pregnant at a young age herself, she rebukes the church who failed her.  The cycle goes on.

One of the more interesting characters that Ms. Greenidge has thrown into the mix is Keera (Adrienne C. Moore) - an overweight, shy, religious girl who tries to convince Annie to do things God's way.  In a striking move by Ms. Greenidge, we ultimately see a completely different Keera behind the facade -again - clinging to hopes, dreams, and a desire to make more of herself and break the cycle.

The two male characters, not surprisingly, are the least developed. Malik's (J. Mallory-McCree) character is mostly flat - mostly due to the crafting of his expected lines.  Antwoine (LeRoy McClain), a pivotal character to the plot, is also marginalized in terms of dialogue and depth.  But let's just be clear that when he rips off his shirt there were more than a few gasps (the good kind)  from the rather diverse audience.

Powerful, relevant, packed with anger, frustration, and mostly despair - this new work sizzles on a red hot stage at Playwrights Horizons.