Trouble in Mind Examines Societal Roles through Hilarity and Heartbreak
in the Newly Renovated Studio Theatre
DETROIT- The Studio Theatre continues its season with its second show, the hilarious yet heartbreaking Trouble in Mind by Alice Childress, playing November 25 – December 3, 2011. Winner of the 1956 Obie Award (the Off-Broadway equivalent of a Tony Award) for Best Original Off-Broadway Production, Trouble in Mind is, in the words of Director Jennifer Goff, “about the roles we play in life. It’s a play within a play, so we get to see not only the roles we want to play, but the roles society allows us to play.” Tickets are $10-$12 and are available by calling (313) 577-2960, by visiting http://www.wsustudio.com or by stopping at the Wayne State University Box Office at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Cass Avenue and Hancock.
The play is a powerfully incendiary, satiric comedy/drama that follows the journey of a mixed-race cast in 1957 as they begin rehearsals for a new “progressive” anti-lynching play. Playwright Childress pokes knowing fun at actors’ complaints and directors’ frustrations, allowing a lighthearted humor to permeate heartbreaking racial injustices. Both the veteran and rookie actors attempt to balance their ideals against the obstacles and prejudices that arise during rehearsals. As they navigate the script, the creative process and each other, they must come to terms with the roles they play on and off-stage and whether those roles are worth the price paid to play them.
Though the play was intended for Broadway, Trouble in Mind’s controversial themes made producers request a rewrite of the ending – a situation ironically similar to what the characters in Trouble in Mind face. Because she would not make the requested changes, Childress sacrificed the opportunity to become the first African-American female playwright produced on Broadway. Instead, that honor went to Lorraine Hansberry in 1959 for A Raisin in the Sun, which was also the first play on Broadway with an African-American director (Lloyd Richards). Goff hopes that “people are able to identify the parallels in this play not only in history, but in our daily lives” and insists that through the lens of the play’s narrative, we will come to find the purpose is “not about creating a society that’s colorblind. It’s about creating a society that’s no longer blinded by color.”
Goff, along with the rest of Wayne State’s Department of Theatre, is enthused about the newly renovated Studio Theatre. “I’m pretty jazzed to have that beautiful space to play with. The play itself takes place in a theatre, so we get to use the space to our advantage,” Goff says. Audience members will feel immersed in the world created on the stage; a world that offers an opportunity to witness an era gone by, contemplate our current progress and be lost in an intimate and thoroughly exceptional theatre-going experience.
The cast includes (in alphabetical order)
Andy Gaitens (Royal Oak, MI) as Henry, Amber Gale (Detroit, MI) as Millie Davis, Michael Gingerella (Madison Heights, MI) as Al Manners, Aaron Glenn (Wyandotte, MI) as Eddie, Derrell Jones (Detroit, MI) as John Nevins, Bridgette Jordan (Southfield, MI) as Wiletta Mayer, James Jordan (Detroit, MI) as Sheldon Forrester, Taylor Morrow (Warren, MI) as Judith Spears and Anthony Scamihorn (Marshall, MI) as Bill O’Wray.
The production team includes
Jennifer Goff (Director), Jessica Rushing (Stage Manager), Anthony Karpinski (Scenic Designer), Fred Florkowski (Technical Director), Melissa Hall (Costume Designer), Tyler Ezell (Lighting Designer), Anthony Karpinski (Property Master) and Patrick Pozezinski (Publicist).
About the Studio Theatre
The Studio Theatre is an intimate, 110-seat open stage theatre in the lower level of the Hilberry Theatre on Wayne State University’s campus that is often used for experimental, student and classroom productions. Annual programming includes the Ph.D Directors’ Series, the Student Stage and the Louise Heck-Rabi Dramatic Writing Competition. For nearly fifty years the Studio Theatre has presented great theatre featuring WSU undergraduate students. With generous support from WSU Theatres’ patrons and donors, the Studio Theatre recently underwent renovation.
The Wayne State Theatre box office is open Tuesday – Saturday from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. at the Hilberry Theatre. Tickets may be purchased upstairs at the Hilberry Theatre at 4743 Cass Avenue. There will be no late seating. Regular tickets are available for $12, and $10 discounted tickets are available to students, seniors age 62+ and Wayne State University faculty, staff, and Alumni Association members. Group discounts are also available. For more information, please visit the theatre’s website at www.wsustudio.com.
Photography Credit: Patrick Pozezinski
November 25, 2011 – December 3, 2011
Thursday 8 p.m. Dec. 1
Friday 8 p.m. Nov. 25, Dec. 2
Saturday 2 p.m. Nov. 26
Saturday 8 p.m. Nov. 26, Dec. 3