Trouble in Mind (A Black Retrospective 5)

Trouble in Mind.  Pictured:  John Lemley, Carl Crudup, Terria Joseph, Theresa Merritt, and Hy  Mencher. Photo credit: Bert Andrews. 1979

Trouble in Mind is the first professionally produced play written by Alice Childress, a pioneering African-American playwright.

Childress directed the first production of the play, which debuted on November 5, 1955, in Greenwich Mews Theatre, New York City, and ran for 91 performances. For Trouble in Mind, Childress was awarded an Obie Award in 1956 for best original Off-Broadway production, making her the first African-American woman to win an Obie.

Though Trouble in Mind was award-winning and a hit with critics and audiences at the time, the production was plagued with problems, including a clash between the original director and cast that prompted Childress to take his place. This is ironic considering Trouble in Mind is about the troubled production of a fictional, anti-lynching Broadway play, Chaos in Belleville. Wiletta Mayer, the African-American lead of the Chaos, as well as the other black actors, must deal with the condescending attitude of their white director, Al Manners. Wiletta stands up to Manners and reveals his racist attitudes but faces severe consequences as a result. –

NFT’s production was the 5th in the 1978-79 season reprising the best African American plays of the 1940s and 50s.

Presented as part of the 1978-79 Season

Artist Credits

Credit Artist Photo
Playwright Alice Childress
Director Shauneille Perry Shauneille Perry
Actor John Lemley
Actor Carl Crudup
Actor Terria Joseph Terria Joseph
Actor Hy Mencher
Actor Theresa Merritt

All 1978-79 Season productions: