HenryTrouble in Mind

David R. Voss is making his first appearance at Players by the Sea, and only his second appearance on stage. He decided to embark on an acting adventure after reaching his 70s and following a long professional career in public relations, marketing and public speaking, mostly on matters dealing with education. His first experience was playing one of the siblings in The 5 & Dime’s production of For Peter Pan’s 70th Birthday. He also enjoyed a series of classes and shows in improv at First Coast Comedy in Mayport. While he’s new to the stage, he’s not new to theatre, both as a Board of Directors member at the Asolo Theatre in Sarasota and as a father of a thespian daughter and a son who works as an audio designer on Broadway in New York City. David appreciates the Players giving this “older rookie” an opportunity to perform as “Henry” in Trouble in Mind.

What made you audition for this show?
It was the right fit for me. As an older man, I found a great connection with the role of Henry, a 78-year-old Irish American with failing memory, bad hearing and a great big heart. He connects with Wiletta Mayer and a unique and special way.

How do you relate to the character you’re portraying?
There’s a big difference between intellect and wisdom. Henry may not have much intellect, but he has a lot of wisdom. As people age, they tend to take a back seat in social, business and political circles. It’s important for younger people to understand that with patience, there is much to be gained by compassionately listening to an elderly person, as Wiletta so adroitly displays.

If you had to describe the show in one word, what would it be?

. (written in the 50s, yet with tremendous relevance to what is going on today).

What do you want people to take away from this show?
Along with a good time, I want people to take away a thoughtful mental exercise about race relations. Understanding the history and evolution of race relations in American can help us navigate the modern challenges that exist today. This script beautifully portrays a theatrical metaphor for how harmful language, prejudices and habits seep into our consciousness, sometimes without knowing or accepting that they exist.

Why should patrons come to support/attend the show?
The show is wildly entertaining with humorous interludes and compelling dialogue that will make you think. Coming to the show will enable patrons to support the continuous efforts of Players by the Sea to present these types of thought-provoking shows to Jacksonville.


Written by Alice Childress
Directed by Zach Rivera
Mainstage • May 10 – 26, 2024

A talented and experienced Black actress has been cast in Chaos in Belleville, an anti-lynching play set to open on Broadway. She’s paid her dues throughout the years, playing stereotypical supporting roles in second-rate shows, and is ready for her star turn. Chaos in Belleville, written by a white playwright, might not be quite as enlightened a piece as she’s been hoping for — but that doesn’t mean it won’t sell out. And selling out is the question at the heart of Alice Childress’s comedy-drama. A cast of multigenerational Black actors rehearse under the purview of a white director and stage manager, and as the rehearsal process unfolds, theatre conventions and racial politics collide, resulting in a surprisingly funny yet deeply piercing look at the entertainment industry.