This plays takes place in a Black household in the years after WWII. The longtime matriarch of the Crumb household has died and in her absence a gap forms. First to fill that gap is her sister, a radical Communist and a drunk, who has a kind of sway over the father of the house. Another potential member to fill that gap is the daughter Ernestine, and finally, a German expat named Gerte.
This play then deals with what it means to lose someone, to try to find ways to heal, and how to process the new life that unfolds in light of that loss. The result is a funny and charming story about these questions. About how faith, how radical ideology, and how love changes as it heals.
The play spends a lot of time allowing the conflict that these clashes bring. All the various tensions that unfold as a result of these conflicts…between the faith of the father and the radical nature of his sister in law, between the whiteness of Gerte and the Blackness of everyone else…and the whiteness but otherness of Gerte alongside otherwise familiar relations.
The results are unclear. The emotions however are raw, if also unclear, but strong and tense. The disappointment of seeing your father who is tormented at work through racist diatribe and abuse marrying a white woman who he seems to very much love does not fit neatly into a set of feelings. At the same time having the radical spirit to fight against oppression for radical change, when the world is pretty clearly telling you that it won’t come so easy. All of these are unfamiliar feelings.