Ernestine Crump longs to find something to believe in, something of her own. Her widowed father, Godfrey, believes in Father Divine, whose portrait hovers over the Crump family’s careworn Brooklyn apartment. Her sister Ermina believes that mastering the street talk of the day (1950) will deliver her acceptance in a neighborhood intolerant of African-Americans. Ernestine’s Aunt Lily believes communism can empower her race, and she believes, too, that the past is no place to live. In Lynn Nottage’s lyrical Crumbs from the Table of Joy, first produced 19 years ago and now on stage at Moxie Theatre, belief wrestles with doubt, and dreams with reality.
Director Delicia Turner Sonnenberg was involved in that first New York production, and her intuition about the narrative and its characters is clear in Moxie’s sensitively told staging. Cashae Monya, so impressive in Moxie’s The Bluest Eye last year, beautifully embodies Lily’s flamboyance and guarded vulnerability. Noteworthy, too, is Vimel Sephus as Godfrey, Jada Temple as Ernestine and Jennifer Eve Thorn as Gerte, the white German woman Godfrey marries, further bubbling up household and neighborhood tensions. Crumbs is a story of connection and identity that resonates.
David L. Coddon is theater critic for San Diego CityBeat