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In play “Chocolate Covered Ants,” a social worker’s research takes an unexpected turn

A scene from "Chocolate Covered Ants."

A scene from “Chocolate Covered Ants.”

In the new play “Chocolate Covered Ants”  licensed clinical social worker and psychologist Dr. Adrienne Taylor is conducting a two-part study on mental health issues that affect African American men and women.

She has assembled a group of black men to discuss the events and issues that have shaped their lives and social consciousness. Some of the men are reluctant to talk about their painful experiences but Dr. Taylor has a unique flair for obtaining the information she needs.

As the play opens, the audience is given the impression that Dr. Taylor is noble and above reproach. However, as the play unfolds, it is revealed that her motivations and her methods are anything but altruistic.

“She is not pursuing this work for all of the right reasons,” said director Courtney Baker-Oliver. “But the conversations that her research opens up are far more important than the tact with which she approaches her subjects.”

“Chocolate Covered Ants,”  was written by Arena Stage Fellow’s Steven A. Butler Jr. It runs from January 14 to February 7, 2016 at the Anacostia Playhouse on 2020 Shannon Place, SE in Washington, D.C. For more information on tickets, please call 202.714.0646 or visit

National Association of Social Workers staff MarQuis Fair (right) appears in the play.

National Association of Social Workers staffer MarQuis Fair (right) appears in the play.

After originally casting Adrienne Taylor as a psychologist, the playwright decided to modify the role to make her a social worker since the issues Taylor is researching – racism, family dysfunction and social injustice – are issues social workers help clients overcome on a daily basis.

“We believe that social work is an important factor in the field of mental health,” Baker-Oliver said. “The wide spectrum of forms that social work embodies is of particular importance to people of color.”

The play also has another link to social workers. MarQuis Fair, a senior executive assistant at the National Association of Social Workers and actor, puts in a powerful performance as Tyrone Jackson, an embittered convict who is mandated by the court system to take part in Dr. Taylor’s research, which he considers to be a waste of time.

Social workers help people from all walks of life overcome life’s challenges. To learn more visit the National Association of Social Workers’ consumer website,


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