A Black man in a yellow T-shirt and khakis stands next to an older Black woman who is seated in a chair. He is handing her a brown paper bag. A colorful mural is on the wall behind them.
André Teamer (left) and Carolyn Nelson in Dandelions at MPAACT. Credit: Shepsu Aakhu

A Bronzeville six-flat frames the sometimes melodramatic but compelling story in Tina Fakhrid-Deen’s Dandelions, now in a world premiere at MPAACT under the direction of Lauren Wells-Mann. Opening with a litany of the greats associated with the neighborhood (Sam Cooke, Ida B. Wells), the show soon moves into the lives of everyday people caught up in loss, addiction, and recriminations, all exacerbated by the forces of gentrification.

Through 6/4: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM; Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln, 773-404-7336, mpaact.org, $34-$42

Mamie Davis (Carolyn Nelson) is the aging owner of the building, struggling to keep up with exploding property taxes. Her son King (André Teamer) lives in the basement and subsists on odd jobs, but his past history with drugs and stealing from his mom means he’s not welcome past her threshold (shades of Bubbles in The Wire). The couple across the hall from Mamie, Bill and Skokie Lane (J. Xavier and Dañelle Taylor, respectively) seem on the surface to represent the rising class, but they, like Mamie and King, have suffered a great tragedy in the past that puts up walls between them. Meantime, Bean (Brittany Davis), a friend of King’s still struggling with her own addiction, serves as a reminder of how hard it is to get clean and how easy it is for people to throw you away if you aren’t.

Over a taut 90 minutes, Fakhrid-Deen unpeels the layers in these characters, making them far more than just representations of anguish and loss. Teamer in particular excels in moving between jocularity and sorrow, a man blown by the wind but hoping to find roots in a home and heart somewhere.