Sweat on Broadway: Do Sweat the Big Stuff
It still packs a wallop, this hard-edged play by Lynn Nottage (Ruined, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark), that had its pre-Broadway run last fall at the Public Theatre. It smacked me hard when I saw it downtown last December after that most disastrous presidential election.
The play was almost impossible to sit through with all my own personal rage and frustration flying around my head. It was difficult to empathize with these characters and their own rage and frustration as these folks were sure-fire future Trump voters. Coming from a confused and scared place, their dialogue was laced with racism and blindness. Seeing it again, months into this new federal administration, Sweat on the big Broadway stage at Studio 54 has only brought the frustrations of these characters into greater more earthbound focus. It might be due to the fact that my own personal upset, although not gone, is less raw and overwhelming.
It’s still abundantly clear that when someone tells you they aren’t a racist, like Tracey does, in a Tony worthy performance by Johanna Day (August: Osage County), to the desperate and hard working Oscar, a wonderfully quiet and authentic Carlo Alban (CTG’s A Parallelogram), just before throwing around one after another ridiculously inappropriate and racist remarks, don’t believe them. Know that she, just like us, is carrying around such strong and utterly stereotypical viewpoints about those that are different from her, and when fear and desperation hit, blame desperately needs to be directed at someone; anyone, which usually means, someone in a weaker position and someone quite different from herself.
That very telling and exquisitely written scene between Tracey and Oscar that occurs half way through Act I….. (to read the full review: click here)