Your Homegirl’s Play Review: It was dope. Go see it.
Hit the Anacostia Playhouse between now and February 7th to catch Chocolate Covered Ants, a soul-stirring stage play written by Steven A. Butler, Jr. and directed by Courtney Baker-Oliver. You’ll get a truly immersive experience that is magnified by the riveting topics and the exclamations you may have to shush when some audience members can’t help their visceral reactions.
Chocolate Covered Ants is about a research psychologist in Chicago who has some interesting but questionable ideas about how to examine the plight of Black women in America by studying Black American men. Fighting for control of her research participants and aspects of her personal life, she faces the testing of her own mental, social, and physical survival. In many of the play’s moments, the characters’ interactions are just as humorous as they are emotionally striking.
The set design is beautiful, and its details come through to the audience. “The production was on fleek,” said audience member Eryka B. “They used every piece of that stage. It was like I was IN it!”
There were key standout performances at the Friday, January 17th show. The audience favorite was Wilma Lynn Horton as Michelle, the research assistant to Dr. Taylor, who provided much of the comic relief with expert timing. But just as naturally, she provided the right kind of poignant passion in scenes that got really deep. Another standout was Charles W. Harris, Jr. as Alan, a study participant who is especially unique from the others. His performance was so true-to-life that you’ll swear you know this dude from somewhere. Though it takes artistic fortitude to accomplish such a performance, his ability to draw the audience in and bug them out seemed effortless. Kandace Foreman was a magnificent force playing The Ant Queen — a feat you have to witness to understand.
Actors playing the study participants were highly entertaining and contrasted well with one another. Clermon Acklin (A.J.), Christopher Ezell (Jayson), MarQuis Fair (Tyrone), and David Lamont Wilson (Flexx) were interesting from start to finish. Kudos to David Lamont Wilson for the sound design, another remarkable element of Chocolate Covered Ants to which you will definitely pay attention.
Chocolate Covered Ants is presented at the Anacostia Playhouse by Restoration Stage, Inc., based in Bowie, MD. Visit their website at www.restorationstage.com.
Contributing reviewer: Eryka B. (She really did say “on fleek.”)