"Trouble in Mind" ★★★

The 1955 backstage drama by the groundbreaking black playwright Alice Childress shows she was nothing if not incisive about the way stereotypes can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. She also had a heck of a sense of humor. The play is also hilariously savage in its portrayal of theater artists as prima donas. They arrive to work on an anti-lynching play — a mixed-race cast led by a white director — and as they dig in, a veteran actress named Wiletta (played with real wit and verve by Velma Austin) begins to question the veracity of her character’s choices. She’s been down this road before and she’s reached her breaking point. "All I did was holler, 'Lawd have mercy!' for two hours." Through March 20 by The Artistic Home, 3914 N. Clark St.; $28 at 866-811-4111 or theartistichome.org - NINA METZ
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