VAPA to present ‘Crumbs from the Table of Joy’ with a contemporary twist using all female cast

The Department of Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) at Grambling State University (GSU) is putting a new twist on a play that first ran off-Broadway in 1995 when it presents “Crumbs from the Table of Joy.” Written by Lynn Nottage and adapted and directed for this production by GSU VAPA instructor Laura D. Oliver, the play will be presented at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14 – Friday, Feb. 17 with an additional 10 a.m. matinee showing on Feb. 17.

Admission for the play will be $5 for children 12 and under and $10 for adults while GSU students with an ID can attend for free.

Nottage’s original version of the play takes place in Brooklyn, New York, in 1950 with an African- American man, Godfrey Crump, grieving over his wife’s death and finding new meaning in religion as he moves his family, Ernestine, a 17-year-old and 15-year-old Ermina, from Florida to Brooklyn.

But Oliver said she’s updated and tweaked the version that will be presented by GSU students.

“This all-female cast is really bringing the stage to life with their charisma and take on each rendition of the characters,” Oliver said about recent play rehearsals. “Lynn Nottage wrote an excellent play in the 1950s and the plot is mostly the same, but we decided to spice it up a bit to speak to today’s issues in Black households.

“I am excited to show everyone the talent of these experienced and upcoming actresses.”

In Oliver’s synopsis of her updated version of the play, seventeen-year-old Ernestine Crump tells the story of her disheveled family life. Her mother, Goddess Crump, just lost her spouse and is now a single mother with two teenage daughters (Ernestine and Ermina). In her mourning, Goddess discovers “Father Divine” (the leader of the Peace Mission Movement) who inspires her to move to Brooklyn. Ernestine and Ermina are upset with the relocation while Goddess keeps a protective eye on them.

Shortly after moving into their new home, Aunt Lily Green arrives and livens up the home. Lily talks of a revolution and having fun while Goddess clings to the idea of her newfound religion. Out of frustration, Goddess leaves them for a few weeks and returns with Gerte Schulte, a white German woman. The two build a relationship, but Ernestine, Ermina, and Aunt Lily are not welcome to the changes. The Crump family works through issues with racism, sexism, and socialism as the story unfolds on stage.

This version of the play will feature Madison Smith as the Narrator; Micah Anderson as Ernestine Crump: Ephinite’ Hardy as Ermina Crump; Snmynni McDonald as Goddess Crump; McKinley Harbor as Lily Ann Green and Naelahni Martin as Gerte Schulte.

For more information, call GSU’s Department of VAPA at 318-274-2201.