There are times when our lives do not seem big enough to occupy the spaces of our dreams. The discrepancy between the two is where we discover our true selves.
This is the lesson high schooler Annie wrestles with in Kirsten Greenidge‘s Obie Award-winning play, “Milk Like Sugar,” which follows her and her classmates as they attempt to reconcile their dreams with their illusion-shattering reality. As the play opens, Annie and her two best friends make a pact to get pregnant in an effort to gain the material goods they’ve come to associate with social status. Annie, however, finds it difficult to follow through on that promise when she makes two new friends whose goals exist on a grander scale than anything she had ever imagined possible for herself.
“Milk Like Sugar” is the Mosaic Theater Company’s first installment of three plays that will highlight problems facing urban teens and millennials as they come of age. The play is also the first by the company to feature subtitles incorporated into the show design, making it fully accessible to the area’s prominent Deaf community.
Kashayna Johnson is stunning in the protagonist role, both riotously funny and tragically convincing as a teenager at odds with herself, her peers, and the world she lives in. During a string of half-started sentences and semi-formed thoughts, Johnson has one startling moment of clarity where she asks herself: “What if there’s another way to be?” and the enormity of that question echoes throughout the entirety of Annie’s story.
Though told from the perspective of teenagers, the story’s significance is one that adults alike can take to heart: we must be willing to believe in our own power if we want our lives to take the shape of our dreams.
“Milk Like Sugar” will run from November 2-27 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center.
*Images credit Ryan Maxwell