Alice Childress' Powerful Play Trouble in Mind at the Aurora
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The last date listed for Trouble in Mind was Sunday October 3, 2010 / 2:00pm.
Written by Alice Childress
Directed by Robin Stanton
Robin Stanton (Speech & Debate, Betrayed, Permanent Collection) directs this play about race, identity, and opportunity, featuring Bay Area favorite Margo Hall in her Aurora Theatre Company debut, along with Tim Kniffin, Rhonnie Washington, Elizabeth Carter, Michael Ray Wisely, Earll Kingston, Patrick Russell, Jon Gentry, and Melissa Quine.
More than 40 years after it was written, Trouble in Mind, according to The New York Times, “still has the power to make one feel its anger and humor.” Set during the early years of the Civil Rights movement, it offers a disconcerting yet disarmingly funny look at the inequalities of American life in the 1950s, and the half-truths we tell ourselves about race relations and societal progress in America.
Trouble in Mind follows a cast of black and white actors attempting to mount a production of a “progressive” new play. The play-within-the-play, entitled Chaos in Belleville, an anti-lynching drama set in the South, written by a white writer and directed by a white director, marks the first opportunity for Wiletta Mayer, a gifted African American actress, to play a leading lady on Broadway. But what compromises must she make to succeed?
Alice Childress was the first female writer to win an Obie Award for the off-Broadway Trouble in Mind_. In a twist of irony echoing the play itself, she was offered a chance to take the play to Broadway — with the caveat that she would rewrite the ending and change the title. Childress refused, and the following year Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun_ went on to become the first Broadway play written by an African American woman.