Saturday night I got a chance to see Alice Childress’ play Trouble In Mind, thanks to a comp from Aurora Theatre.
Now, before you go thinking I’m going to automatically say I loved it because I didn’t have to pay for it, let me point out that it’s already had rave reviews from the SF Chronicle, the East Bay Express, SF Weekly, Theater Dogs, The Idiolect and about six other papers/blogs/people. And it’s already been extended.
So if I happen to say I loved it — which I very well may not — it would clearly not be because of the comp. Is that all clear? Okay.
I loved it.
You can go here to see the review that most captures my thoughts on the acting, which is not just stellar (Margo Hall!!) but is stellar across the board, which ain’t always the case with a 9-character play.
Seriously, if you’re an acting teacher, assign this production to your students, pronto.
What I want to talk about is the writing, because this play was written in 1955 and yet somehow feels like it could have been written yesterday. (Well, a year ago, given the vagaries of the development process, etc etc.)
The humor is remarkably modern; the satire of the play-within-the-play is subtle and funny and fresh. And the dialogue moves from hilarious to heartbreaking and back, with both riveting monologues and brilliant character-based throwaway lines.
So if you’re a playwriting teacher, assign this production to your students, too. You can make it a field trip and hang out in the smoking lounge with the acting teacher.