Warehouse Theatre produces ‘Trouble in Mind’ about Black actors in theater

Trouble in Mind,” by South Carolina playwright Alice Childress, bowled over critics and audiences when it received its first Broadway production in 2021.

This drama about the struggles Black actors face in the world of live theater seemed urgent and timely.

Remarkably, it was written more than 65 years ago.

“It was relevant for the time period, and it remains relevant today,” said Amanda Washington, who is directing “Trouble in Mind” at the Warehouse Theatre. “We’re still dealing with the same issues.”

“Trouble in Mind” opens March 29 for a three-week run.

Set during rehearsals for a major Broadway production, the play centers on a Black actress who finds herself and other Black actors reduced to playing stereotypical roles.

Washington, an Atlanta-based director, said Childress deftly balances laugh-out-loud hilarity with serious reflections on the limitations placed on Black actors and playwrights.

In Childress’ play, the Black experience is told by white playwrights, which may account for the stereotypes.

“There has been a lot of progress to show a more nuanced and detailed Black experience in theater today, but a lot of great work by Black playwrights is still ignored,” Washington said.

A ‘revelation’

When it reached Broadway in 2021, “Trouble in Mind” earned considerable critical praise and a Tony nomination for Best Revival of a Play.

Adam Feldman of Time Out New York called the play a “revelation,” adding that “to a startling degree, the play anticipates many of the conversations that have taken place in the past two years about the devaluation of Black artists in the theater world.”

Childress, born in Charleston in 1912, became a novelist, playwright and stage actress. She died in 1994.

“Trouble in Mind,” originally produced in 1955 in Greenwich Village, was set to become the first play by a Black woman to reach Broadway. But Childress would not compromise her vision, resisting demands to change the title and the play’s ending. Four years later, Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun” became the first Broadway play by a Black woman.

The Warehouse production’s nine-member cast includes several familiar Greenville actors and three debuts.

Washington is directing at the Warehouse for the first time.

“It’s been a joy, a great process,” she said. “The cast is quick and the creative team has been extremely supportive. It’s been lovely.”

Jacqueline Springfield is featured in the Warehouse Theatre’s “Trouble in Mind,” by South Carolina playwright Alice Childress, running March 29-April 14. Photo by Will Crooks

Want to go?

What: “Trouble in Mind” by Alice Childress

When: March 29-April 14

Where: The Warehouse Theatre, 37 Augusta St.

Tickets: $35-$40

Info: 864-235-6948 or warehousetheatre.com

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *