In 2008, 18 girls at Gloucester High got pregnant, which led to claims that the students had entered into some sort of pregnancy pact. The story gained national attention and was even the inspiration behind a Lifetime movie.
It turned out there was no pact in Gloucester. But Boston playwright Kristen Greenidge employed the idea of that urban myth in her latest play, Milk Like Sugar. Set in an urban high school, three girls — Annie, Talisha, and Margie – decide to get pregnant together. But Annie questions the decision that seems so reasonable to her friends and explores what she might make of her life if she doesn’t become a teenage mother.
Is Milk Like Sugar worth you time? Should you see it or skip it? Here are the best arguments on either side.
T. Charles Erickson
Milk Like Sugar is affecting and sad. You root for Annie throughout and hope that she’ll discover opportunities beyond what her shallow friends and beaten-down family can imagine.
Jasmine Carmichael plays Annie – and she’s wonderful. She imbues Annie with intelligence and kindness. Carmichael shows that Annie is capable of so much more than she’s aware.
The rest of the cast is excellent, as well. There really isn’t a weak spot, but Shanae Burch (Keena) and Marc Pierre (Malik) were particularly notable in supporting roles.
Greenidge’s script is unsparing. Annie’s friends are status-obsessed and ignorant. Her mother is neglectful. They don’t want Annie to succeed or grow beyond them. Over the course of the play, you come to understand the forces that keep even smart, ambitious kids like Annie from achieving their potential.
There’s a rawness to Milk Like Sugar that’s a little uncomfortable. When Annie’s mother was behaving appallingly toward her daughter, I felt as though I was eavesdropping on a stranger having an incredibly bad day. If you’re planning a fun Friday night date, Milk Like Sugar probably isn’t the best choice.
The verdict: See it!
Milk Like Sugar will be at the Calderwood Pavilion through February 27.