Alice Childress’ play Trouble In Mind was set to be mounted right in the nexus of the civil rights movement in the United States. It was 1955 and racial tensions were at a fever-pitch. Rosa Parks was jailed for refusing to give up a seat on a bus, and the stage was set for Dr. Martin Luther King to stare down racial inequity.
Entering into this mix, Childress’ play is a self-reflexive look behind the scenes of a theatre production in New York City. Effectively mirroring what was taking place on the world stage, Trouble In Mind proved too hot to handle for producers in the mid-50s and after repeated requests to tone down its message, the production was shelved. Now, 65 years later, the play has risen from the ashes. In this fiery co-production with the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Wiletta Mayer, a Black actress, must use her sharp wit and cunning to unearth the true message of the story they are rehearsing.
Trouble In Mind runs at the Citadel Theatre’s Shoctor Stage, March 25 – April 15. Alana Bridgewater, who stars as Wiletta Mayer, recently joined Tony King on Thoroughfare: