Chocolate Covered Ants
What do you get when you put a handful of black men from different backgrounds in a nonjudgement zone, and ask them ‘who are you?’ You get …Powerful confessions. Humorous recollections. Unabridged truth. Deep reflections. Change. You get – Chocolate Covered Ants.
This past weekend, I was able to catch Chocolate Covered Ants as it gears up for its last week at the Anacostia Playhouse. Presented by Restoration Stage and written by Steven A. Butler Jr., Chocolate Covered Ants will be presented through Sunday February 7th.
Directed by Courtney Baker-Oliver, Ants uses the story of Dr. Adrienne Taylor, a professor researching black men in order to understand the plight of the Black woman in America, to open a black male Pandora’s box of thoughts, issues and dreams.
Powerful. The play begins with six black men sharing monologues on their perspectives of the black male experience. “I’m standing here with my hands up,” one man states. “With all my pride and dignity at your feet.” To audience chuckles, another talks of running up to an unsuspecting white person and yelling ‘SWITCH!’ and exchanging races.
One of the most memorable lines for me was “The most masculine thing a man can do is cry.” He continued, sharing that it speaks to how strong and confident a black man must be, not caring who sees or knows that he is crying.
And cry out these men did. From topics of molestation, fear and hatred for one’s own skin, to feelings of abandonment and homosexuality, the cries were loud and heard by all.
Honestly, the play seemed to start off slowly.. But it wasn’t long until I could understand how Butler’s meticulous knack for detail only set the stage for a tangled web of relationships; exploring the deep, mysterious and complex dynamic of black men and women. The final act of this two-act play pulled me in so far that I literally sat quietly for a few minutes, deep in thought, after the play ended. It was just that impactful.
Attendee Courtney Garton, agreed. “It was powerful, intense and traumatic… like a volcano going off inside of me with the acting and emotion. I wish I had brought my friends.”
I enjoyed all of the actors/actresses but my personal favorites were:
- Christopher Ezell as Jayson – Very believable, humorous and committed to his character.
- Wilma Lynn Horton as Michelle Pitts – Exceptional, very relatable and a great sense of comedic relief.
- And of course Suli Myrie as Dr. Adrienne Taylor – a strong and simply wonderful performance.
This is the last week of the performance. Check it out and come back to let us know your thoughts!
Today, I’m thankful for those who tell the stories of others.