Tonight I had the privilege of seeing Intiman’s “Trouble in Mind” by Alice Childress, directed by Valorie Cutis-Newton, staring Tracy Michelle Hugues. The entire cast was phenomenal and each character gave me a moment of blood boiling hatred for still existing in this day and age. This was written in 1955 and is still so relevant today.
As I enter the theatre I sit next to the obviously liberal white couple excited to see some culture on the stage and am also surrounded by other white people who give me subtle stares and whisper to their significant others. Were they warning them that there was a “black girl” sitting behind them so not to laugh at the racist jokes to loud? Who knows, but it was clear that my very black presence in this very white space for this very black show did not go unnoticed. As the show begins the lead, Wiletta comes out in all of her “mammy” glory. Oh Lord, here we go, I think to myself, time to feel real uncomfortable and get mad at all of these white people who think this shit is funny. Side note: It was hilarious. Anyway, I was completely captivated by all of the characters and could name an uncle, auntie, grandparent, and “church mom” for each of them, which was comforting and upsetting for obvious reasons.
Then it got real, and I really started analyzing the characters and the casting and my my my it was right on point. The dark skinned characters were in their “rightful” places, as were the light skin, the young, and the beautiful innocent damsel in distress. Oh, that damsel! Skylar Tatro, was the actress playing the role of Judy Sears, and if I have ever wanted to smack a bitch…she was the bitch to slap. Of course that simply means she did an awesome job playing this role. She was the epitome of the “because I am not racist, I do not see race” liberal bullshit that I have gotten in many debates about. As the play continued through its captivating moments of “oh no she didn’t” and “wtf” my mini audience sitting around me cautiously checked in with me for cues of when to laugh and when to boo and hiss. The couple next to many took this to the next level and protested the injustice aloud so that I knew that they knew that what was going on was against everything they believed in. Thank you for your confirmation that racism is wrong…
I say all of this to say that I was on an emotional roller coaster with this production and I am thankful for the ride. Please check out Intiman’s “Trouble in Mind” and let me know what you thought. Even more so, let me know how you felt upon entering, during, and after you left. That in itself is a testimony to where we really are today.