Trouble In Mind
About the Play
Greenwich Mews Theatre, New York (1955)
Anthologized in Plays by American Women: 1930-1960. Judith Barlow, ed. New York: Applause Theatre Books, 2001 and Selected Plays by Alice Childress. Kathy A. Perkins, ed. Chicago: Northwestern UP, 2011.
A scathing indictment of racism in American commercial theatre, Trouble in Mind tells the story of Wiletta Mayer, an African-American actress cast in a supposedly “progressive” play about racism by a white male author—it turns out to be anything but progressive, both in terms of its script and rehearsal environment.
Trouble in Mind was Childress’ first full-length play; it was optioned for Broadway, but after two years of rewriters, Childress refused to tone down her message for mainstream audiences. The play opened off-Broadway at Greenwich Mews Theatre. Arthur Gelb of the New York Times called it a “fresh, funny, lively and cutting satire,” while critic Harry Raymond declared it “a sparkling drama of protest…. which bubbles with humor and at the same time has deep meaning.”
About the Playwright
Alice Childress (1912-1994) was an actress, novelist, and playwright. Born in Charleston, South Carolina, she moved to Harlem at age five, where she was raised by her grandmother. Alice’s grandmother encouraged her love of writing, and Alice found inspiration in her family’s stories as well as the lives of the people around her. In particular, the stories she heard at weekly church events inspired her to focus on the lives of urban African-Americans. Alice developed a passion for theatre and at…
One Play at a Time Participating Universities
University of Souther California
Loyola University, Chicago
University of the Arts
Wayne State University
University at Buffalo, SUNY
Cal State University Northridge
Michigan State University