Going to the theatre is always a chance for us to get a little dressed up and make an occasion of it. We had a meal out and then walked to the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage to see the Pulitzer Prize winning show SWEAT by Lynn Nottage and directed by Valerie Planche. The Arts Club have used the magnificent old building for the past 20 years as one of the venues for their theatre company.
SWEAT is a co-production with Citadel Theatre of Alberta and will be in Edmonton in the New Year with the same sets and actors. Half the Creative team and actors came to us from Citadel Theatre and half from Arts Club. What a wonderful way for the two cities to share talent!
The show is a cultural snapshot of the industrial heartland of America. It documents the profound changes in American society in the first decade of the 21st Century. Looking back, I am sure there will be many in the audience who can trace modern political trends from their birth in that time. I know as I walked out, there were many discussions about the subject matter of the play and how it reflects on today’s society and politics.
When I went, I expected to hear a polemic of modern capitalism. To my surprise, the author adopted an observer position and didn’t preach or politic but simply permitted the individuals’ perspective be revealed through events and relationships.
I’ve been a union activist. I’ve been in strikes and seen them tear friendships apart. This play while it accurately reflects those attitudes and stresses also takes a step back to examine other factors. Without reservation I recommend this play to followers of politics and society in North America.
SWEAT will be playing at the Arts Club Stanely Industrial Alliance Stage until 18 November 2018.
Tickets at: https://artsclub.com/shows/2018-2019/sweat
~ reviewed by Ian (and Linda) Harrison
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