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Trouble in Mind

Race Relations in Black and White: 'Trouble in Mind' at the Aurora Theatre

In the days of constantly streaming Twitter and Facebook, it’s amazing anything stays relevant for a month, much less decades. But Trouble in Mind by Alice Childress - the first African-American woman to win an Obie award - remains an insightful exploration of racial inequality, even half a century later.

Written during the Civil Rights movement, this play-within-a-play follows a cast of black and white actors mounting a script about anti-lynching (by a white dude, naturally) on Broadway, a premise which opens the proverbial stage door to all manner of cultural side-stepping and socially mandated diffidence. Early in the play, an older black actor advises a younger one to “Laugh, laugh at everything they say.” Where “they” are white people in general, and white theater people in particular.
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