As the play opens, a pregnant Mary (Kayla Carter) has just finished cleaning out her father Edward’s Chicago home after his passing. She shows her husband, trendy Chef Javier (Mauricio Miranda), some of the things she is curious about. Why did her father keep this wrinkled old poster of Muhammad Ali, for example? Or this clump of wires? And who is the other man in this photo labeled “Ed and me”?
Mary wishes she had asked her father more questions when he was alive. Edward was black, Mary’s mother, Ruth (Julie Dixon), is white, and they divorced when Mary was young. Neither talked much about the past but Mary decides to visit her mother in Louisville and see if she can get some answers now.
If he can’t play sports, she will find another extracurricular activity for him to fulfill that requirement. She sends him to Whitney Deelie’s (Ben Rose) radio shop in the black part of town to ask for a job.
“I get so tired of explaining my ethnicity,” Mary says to Javier at one point. “I am not special. I don’t want to be special. My hair is not exotic. Neither is your food.”
But the complexity is a gift and the relationships are worth the work.
Under Dale McFadden’s direction, the whole ensemble is strong, both as individual characters and in relationships with each other. I was especially moved by Ben Rose’s portrayal of Whitney — a man committed to living and working in his neighborhood, no matter how it changed.