Theater: A.C.T. OUT LOUD: Alice Childress’s ‘Trouble in Mind’; Shaw’s ‘Arms and the Man’; Wilder’s ‘The Matchmaker’)

Post image for Theater: A.C.T. OUT LOUD: Alice Childress’s ‘Trouble in Mind’; Shaw’s ‘Arms and the Man’; Wilder’s ‘The Matchmaker’)

by Jim Allen on March 29, 2021

in Theater-San Francisco / Bay Area,Virtual

Beginning tonight, A.C.T. begins its Out Loud series, which features a series of enduring play readings by some of the greatest minds of generations past. It begins tonight with Alice Childress’s Trouble in Mind, running through April 4, 2021. The two other productions that will be part of the series are George Bernard Shaw’s Arms and the Man, (April 12–18, 2021) directed by Colman Domingo, and Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker (April 26–May 2, 2021), directed by Dawn Monique Williams. Tickets ($5–$50) for all readings are available now by calling the Box Office at 415-749-2228 or visiting A.C.T.

Alice Childress’s Trouble in Mind
March 29, 2021 at 6 p.m. PT

Time: 1957. Place: New York City. Six actors gather in a Broadway theater to rehearse an anti-lynching play, written and directed by white artists. Newcomer John believes in the sanctity of theater, ingénue Judy insists there’s only the human race, and veteran actress Wiletta is torn between getting along and delving into the authentic truth of her character. As the actors get on their feet and small talk turns into discussion on motivation and theme, tension begins to run high, ultimately reaching a point of no return. A boulevard comedy with undeniable dramatic force, Alice Childress’s masterpiece would have been the first play by a Black woman produced on Broadway if she had agreed to the producers’ demands that she soften its message. Funny, incisive, and poignant, this play-within-a-play is an unflinching examination of white fragility and liberalism in the theater industry.

Directed by Awoye Timpo, the cast of Trouble in Mind includes (in alphabetical orderPatrice Johnson ChevannesAnthony FuscoDavid HarbourKadeem Ali HarrisSteven Anthony JonesEliza KayeDakin MatthewsJohnny RiceLauren Spencer, and Kaiy Watts.

In conjunction with the reading, A.C.T. will present a special, live discussion and Q&A on Alice Childress and Trouble in Mind on Saturday, April 3 at 2 p.m. Co-presented by San Francisco’s Museum of African Diaspora (MoAD), the discussion will be moderated by SF’s new Director of Cultural Affairs Ralph Remington, and will address why it has taken 66 years for this acclaimed work to have broader visibility and recognition in the national theater scene, and the unique hurdles of filming a play reading over Zoom, featuring a cast of actors on two continents.

George Bernard Shaw’s Arms and the Man
April 12–18, 2021
Between a hero and a mercenary, who would you choose? In 1885’s Bulgaria, young heiress Raina finds herself in the thrillingly romantic situation of finding Bluntschli, a fleeing enemy soldier-for-hire, in her room. Raina is engaged to a Bulgarian war hero but risks her reputation to shelter Bluntschli, despite his annoying habit of undercutting her grand speeches with inveterate pragmatism. When the conflict ends, Raina’s fiancé comes home just as the mercenary reappears. Will Raina choose the hero or the cynic? Set against the backdrop of the Serbian-Bulgarian War, Arms and the Man is a comedy of manners about the limits of romance and the unexpected allure of practicality.

Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker
April 26–May 2, 2021
Matchmaker Dolly Levi has promised to help wealthy widower Horace Vandergelder find his next wife and whisks him away to Manhattan to meet his dream woman. But Dolly has an agenda of her own, and Horace soon finds himself embroiled in a comedy-of-errors involving his niece and her lover, as well as two clerks who long for adventure in the city. From one of America’s most beloved playwrights Thornton Wilder, this charming farce inspired the popular musical Hello, Dolly!, and is an uproarious exploration of the necessity of generosity, the limits of wealth, and the pursuit of the good life.

Comments on this entry are closed.