Wiletta Mayer is a successful actress by all standards. She works steadily, respected by her fellow artists and beloved by audiences. When "just another role" provokes a quiet revolution in her conscience, Wiletta must choose between her life's calling and a new understanding of her place in the world. Never before produced professionally in Atlanta, The Express is proud to present Carol Mitchell-Leon in this bracing, little-seen comedy-drama -- a 1955 Obie Award winner, even -- by a remarkable playwright who dedicated her life to the depiction of the extraordinary strength of ordinary people.
Trouble in Mind is a play within a play, offering unique peek into the life of actors and directors during the rehearsal process. The audience witnesses an emerging rebellion as the heroine, Wiletta, refuses to enact a namby-Mammy, either in the play or for her director. Set in 1950s New York City, the issues are current as ever-- the fact that [black] actors often find themselves playing stereotyped roles in which they cannot bring themselves to believe, and the startling truth that the most enlightened, "liberal" and well-meaning members of our community can still harbor latent bigotry.
Playwright Alice Childress, also a successful actress and director of the American Negro Theatre in NY, casts a sharp and unapologetic eye on the state of race relations in theatre in the time immediately surrounding Rosa Parks' refusal to sit where she was told. Today, we all resist living the story that someone else writes for us, yet we often can't resist creating our own versions for other people.