Death, Jim Crow and communism — it’s a full meal for one play to tackle. But Crumbs from the Table of Joy, which opens on Thursday, July 7, at the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, delivers the goods by focusing on the heart of each issue rather than just the anger.

Nikki E. Walker as Lily Anne Green. — MJ Bruder Munafo

“I thought that sometimes when you deal with big issues and you sort of preach to people, they don’t hear you,” explained director Adrienne D. Williams. “But when you can deliver it to them with humanity and humor, somehow they seem to hear the story in a different way.”

Written by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Lynn Nottage, the production follows the Crump family’s move from Florida to Brooklyn. After his wife dies, Godfrey Crump raises his two children with help from his sister in law Lilly and, later, his new German wife Gerte.

The play takes place in the midst of the McCarthy hearings, a time of Communist suspicion in America. Racial undertones follow the Crump family throughout the play, highlighting the institutional barriers created by urban poverty and prejudice.

 

Abigail Rose Solomon and Lawrence Evans. —MJ Bruder Munafo