Trouble in Mind
By Alice Childress
Directed by Irene Lewis
Featuring E. Faye Butler
Illustration by Nathan Fox
Thought Provoking Comedy
Broadway, 1957. Battle lines are drawn within a newly integrated theater company preparing to open a misguided race play on the Great White Way. As personalities and prejudices collide, lead actress Wiletta Mayer has the chance to achieve her most glorious dream, but at what cost? E. Faye Butler (Oklahoma!, Crowns) leads an ensemble cast in “a fresh, lively and cutting satire” (New York Times) that will make you laugh and make you think.
Trouble in Mind runs approximately 2 hours 15 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
“Wry, character-rich and well-acted … percolates with cleverness and spiky humor … one of the best plays about racism ever written ... the work’s classic texture meshes superbly with the company’s expressed mission of shedding light on important American plays.”
“An epic performance ... Sharply hilarious ... righteous anger and rollicking humor wrapped up in that most delectable of genres, the backstage comedy ... a breath of fresh air.”
“Hilarious … heart-breaking … uplifting and hopeful ... filled with warmth, humor, strength and dignity.”
“Insightful, alternately funny and wrenching look at the soft bigotry of good intentions ... an outstanding cast … the chemistry between the actors … is palpable.”
“Hits on some issues that are as touchy today as they were
half a century ago ... a strong ensemble … While Butler is the heart and soul of the drama, the cast offers
endearing and quirky performances.”
“Greatly entertaining … razor-sharp …
deftly directed, artfully acted.”
“Brilliant … riveting … exquisite … richly rewarding …
I can't recommend Trouble in Mind enough.”
“Stirring … packed with hilarious banter …
Broadway could use a dose of Trouble.”
For years, the play Trouble in Mind, by African-American playwright Alice Childress, was recommended to me as a show that, as artistic director of CENTERSTAGE, I should produce. I had read the play several times over the years and found it to be “old-fashioned/old hat,” especially concerning the depiction of the character of the white director. Finally, I decided to ask the opinion of an African-American actress whose judgment I have always valued. She read the play and told me that she liked it. When I asked if she found the role of the white director dated and unbelievable, she said, “No.” So I came around to the opinion that this was another case of – what should I call it – whites (me) being “out of touch” with the experiences of African-Americans. I decided to produce and direct the play at CENTERSTAGE in Baltimore. It subsequently transferred to Yale Repertory Theater. I am delighted that Molly is bringing this groundbreaking piece to Arena Stage.