Trouble in Mind

Every Sun. from May 8-June 5
7 p.m.
Every Sun. from May 15-June 5
1 p.m.
Every Tue., Wed., Thu., Fri., and Sat. from May 7-June 5
7:30 p.m.
Every Sat. from May 14-June 5
1 p.m.
$44-$64; $15-$49 previews
Having suffered more than her share of subservient roles as an African American actress throughout the 1940s, Alice Childress turned to playwriting as a means of confronting demeaning parts that narrowed the experiences of an entire race to a succession of stereotypes. This denunciation of theatrical hypocrisy is particularly biting in Childress' satiric Trouble in Mind. The story centers on the staging of a new Broadway melodrama, Chaos in Belleville, and conflict arises when the largely African American cast comes to question the work's paternalistic bigotry. When voiced to the white creative team, however, the concerns are met with ultimatums, leading to a conflict that presages contemporary debates over characterizations of race and gender in popular culture. Featuring an ensemble cast under the direction of Valerie Curtis-Newton, this play-within-a-play is not just a refutation of stereotypes, but an insistence that theater have the courage to realize its promise as a staging ground for uncompromising honesty.