“Remember, after rain, there’s always sunshine."
After pulling off a major heist against a rival gang, the Five, a band of misfits and provisional brothers congregate in their clubhouse to celebrate their big win. They have the easy rapport of boys who grew up together, crushing on the same girls and scraping the same knees -- except for these boys play with Glocks and dabble with narcotics. CrackBaby, a world premiere by writer, actor, and director Glenn Quentin, examines the realities of lost boys who raise themselves amidst the inner-city Wild West. And like the Wild West, someone always ends up dead. Winner of this year’s Griot Festival, CrackBaby is a provocative re-imagining of childhood gone.
The Five is made up of Disco (Mario Brown), the eye-patch toting leader of the gang and big brother to Snug (Glenn Quentin), the do-gooder oddball of the crew with a penchant for malapropisms, as well as Walt (David Cork), a bed-hopping lothario, and L.K. (Pierre Gonzalez), the most bellicose member of the squad and the biggest drug enthusiast with an unfortunate scatological accident that no one can quite forget. You’d be wise to notice the missing fifth member of the Five, a fallen brother named Mill, who foreshadows the destiny of boys who play with weapons, be they real or imagined.
Word on the street is that there is a new drug in tow, the titular Crackbaby, which promises to “hit you like a tour bus”. Snug, the most straight and narrow of the group, wants a chance at hanging with the big boys and is allowed despite Disco’s objections. Once the boys meddle with Crackbaby, they are transported to a world that none of them can imagine where some face grimmer fates than others. Writer and director, Glenn Quentin keeps an impressive pace with the play; the story unfolds and you barely have time to catch your breath among the choreographed sequences.
It is a lucid ride down the rabbit hole, with exquisite touches of magic realism juxtaposing the gritty landscape. The ensemble is top notch, bringing equal joy and sorrow with pitch perfect precision. In Quentin, we find a courageous pioneer with a radical voice, helming a faultless coming of age allegory under the waters of inner city blues. In the face of sobering truths, you will delight in this prelude to the future, where lost boys are the causalities of a bygone terrene.