Trouble in the Mind

Written by Alice Childress
Directed by Vaun Monroe

A powerfully incendiary and satiric drama based on the conflict of not compromising one’s artistic integrity, Trouble in Mind follows the journey of a mixed-raced cast in 1957 as they embark upon rehearsals for a racially-charged play. Childress pokes knowing fun at actors’ complaints, directors’ frustration and even with the well-meaning efforts of theater professionals to overcome their racial feelings. As each character is deftly revealed, along with their cavalier approach to the scripts they hold, there is so much humor that the playwright's theme within the theme will leave the audience shocked, if not surprised, at what was before them all along. 

Featuring: Velma Austin, John Mossman, Frank Nall, Eustace Allen, Kim Chelf, Armand Fields, Tom Lally, Cola Needham and Kelly Owens. 

Assistant Director: A.J. Ware
Stage Manager: Loretta Rode
Assistant Stage Manager: Maggie Neumeyer
Dramaturg: Matt Ciavarella
Set Designer: Joseph Riley
Lighting Designer: Jess Harpenau
Costume Designer: Lynn Sandburg
Prop Designer: Lindsay Monahan
Sound Designer: Adam Smith   


Performance Schedule

Performances: February - April 2011
Thursday: 7:30 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 8:00 p.m.
Sunday: 3:00 p.m.


“Velma Austin is excellent...John Mossman is especially good...each character has depth, and the fun of the script buffers the incredibly painful and somehow surprising climax.”
— Suzanne Scanlon, Time Out Chicago,
“Velma Austin reveals Wiletta’s awakening conscience with passion and spine...Vaun Monroe’s ensemble nails a tricky blend of show-biz posturing and personal revelation...the final confrontation between Austin and John Mossman’s pseudo-liberal director is a corker.”
— Kerry Reid , Chicago Reader
“[Childress] had a heck of a sense of humor, which is on full display in her 1955 backstage drama “Trouble in Mind,” about racial tensions in a Broadway theater rehearsal room, in a sharp production from director Vaun Monroe at The Artistic Home...a veteran actress named Wiletta (played with wit and verve by Velma Austin) begins to question the veracity of her character’s choices. More than 50 years after the play was first produced, it is a metaphor that still cuts deep.”
— Nina Metz , Chicago Tribune