SWEAT

Critics

LemonMeter

85 %

Reviews: 13

Audience

LemonMeter

Reviews: 0

Winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Sweat is the scorching new play from Lynn Nottage (Ruined) that The New York Times hailed as keenly observed and surprisingly funny…throbs with heartfelt life.

In the industrial town of Reading, Pennsylvania, a group of friends spend their days on the factory floor and their nights sharing drinks, secrets, and laughs. But when layoffs and picket lines begin to erode their trust, they find themselves pitted against each other in a heart-wrenching fight to stay afloat. Based on Nottage's extensive research and interviews with residents of Reading and arriving at the Taper after a heralded Broadway run, Sweatis a searing reflection of America's economic decline.

Reviews

Shari Barrett

Filled with warm humor, tremendous heart, great personal hardship, Review: SWEAT Explores Brutal Realities of Working the Line With Blinders Onand a tremendously talented cast, SWEAT tells the story of a group of friends who have spent their lives sharing drinks, secrets and laughs while working together on the factory floor at a mill in Reading, Pennsylvania. In fact, generations of local families have been employed there for years, but not much has changed until the economic crisis in 2000 brings layoffs, unexpected promotions and picket lines begin to chip away at their trust of each other

sweet - Shari Barrett - Broadway World - ...read full review


Avatar

...Patano seems tantalizingly real in the part. Almost everything in "Sweat" does: the resentment, the fear, the arguments, and the compassion hemmed in by dangerous necessity.

sweet - Adam Brinklow - Edge Media Network - ...read full review


Avatar

While riveting, the play is overly wordy and at times the action seems to drag, especially in the long first act. The strength is in the fine ensemble cast, ably directed by Lisa Peterson. Many of us have trouble getting into the mindset of people whose lives are so different from our own. Sweat helps us empathize with their humanity and come closer to feeling their pain.

sweet-sour - Marilyn Tower Oliver - Los Feliz Ledger - ...read full review


Avatar

The moments and actors who really do come to embody the lived tragedy of these characters just serve to reveal the moments that aren't full. It's frustrating because watching “Sweat” is like catching glimmers of greatness through a locked fence - the promise is just out of reach. Maybe that's oddly appropriate for this great play. There's enough of the play there to recommend it …but I'm warning you now, you could walk out longing for the production and cast that reveals all it's tragic power.

sweet-sour - Anthony Byrnes - KCRW 89.9 FM - ...read full review


Avatar

SWEAT is a little too long in some scenes, and I did notice a few audience members leave. However, they missed out on seeing one of the most powerful scenes with a surprising twist.

sweet - Jill Weinlein - On Stage Blog - ...read full review


Frances Baum Nicholson

A portrait of the disintegration of the traditional manufacturing towns of the midwest, it answers for the uninitiate multiple questions about the elements of malaise which have infected that part of the country, from amplified racism to opioid abuse. That it does so without preaching or reaching for easy answers, and with considerable humor, makes “Sweat” a gift to watch.

sweet - Frances Baum Nicholson - Daily News - ...read full review


Avatar

Despite that factor and the play's length and slight tendency to preach, the production rarely drags. Its characters are human. Its closing moment could be stronger, but by then the tale has been told and its argument reverberates keenly in a society that has yet to come to grips with its issues, its anti-immigrant rage, opioid devastation and gun fatalities. Nottage doesn't do the work for us, but she does give out very clear instructions on connecting the dots.

sweet - Sylvie Drake - Cultural Weekly - ...read full review


Avatar

Director Lisa Peterson skillfully allows the moments of lighthearted banter between those characters to breathe while ramping up the intensity of their interactions at critical points in the story. All the while she brings a dynamism to the staging, so that scenes where people sit around in a bar talking never feel static... It's a world that many theatergoers have never experienced firsthand, so in that way, Nottage provides us the opportunity to feel empathy with those so far from us, both geographically and otherwise. - RECOMMENDED

sweet - Mayank Keshaviah - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Travis Michael Holder

In real life—such that it is these days—playwright Lynn Nottage spent time in Reading, Pennsylvania getting to know and talking to displaced steelworkers before she began to write her Pulitzer Prize-winning play and surely this insight in the conditions they were forced to endure plays a heavy role in why "Sweat" makes such a powerful statement. The situation, though horrendously awful and morally sickening, is not hard to imagine these dark days, something the writer clarifies by creating exceptionally real dialogue and characters who are the kind of people many of us avoid when we choose not to go “home” for Thanksgiving.

sweet - Travis Michael Holder - TicketHolders LA - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

Though only folks with $30 to $99 at their disposal will be able to catch Sweat at the Taper, characters like those Lynn Nottage has created can rejoice in knowing that their lives have been well served. As gripping as it is insightful, Sweat does its factory-working protagonists proud.

sweet - Steven Stanley - Stage Scene LA - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon

Curiously, though, I didn't see any reference to the historic 2008 election. But if I read the play correctly, I think Nottage is trying to tell us that for large segments of white Americans fed up with the crumbling of their promised security, the stage had been set to place the anger onto “upstart” people of color whom they singled out as not true Americans—and remember, please, who carried the banner of the “birther” movement higher than anyone in those years: none other than a racist, self-promoting real estate mogul from New York City. The idiotic vision of Sarah Palin a heartbeat away from the presidency might have motivated enough swing voters to either stay home or cast their vote for America's first black presidential candidate, but the seeds of know-nothingism at the highest political levels had been sown. And look where we are now.

sweet - Eric A Gordon - People's World - ...read full review


Avatar

This powerful and prescient story might have been even more effective had it been cut some; several scenes, particularly ones in which the trio lashes out at the beleaguered Cynthia, repeat themselves, and the jumping back in forth in time also lessens impact.

What shines through, though, is Nottage's fiery dialogue, the superb acting of the ensemble cast, and Lisa Peterson's incisive direction. Yee Eun Nam's kaleidoscopic projection design also gives the play a vivid backdrop.

sweet-sour - Willard Manus - Total Theater - ...read full review


Avatar

It feels too often like a sociological constructed laboratory experiment of even-keeled fairness. Each of the nine characters gets an origin monologue, each gets to reveal secret hopes and fears, and violence plays out with a kind of dull inevitability. Scenes that should be riveting are oddly perfunctory. The play tries not to preach while preaching to the choir... The cast is uniformly excellent, physically embodying the time shifts with graceful skill... This production is sturdy and grounded, but for me it doesn't soar. Despite the considerable gifts of the actors, the characters are more archetypes than real people. It feels like a debate where we're supposed to learn things and pick a side which is kind of boring, especially when there isn't really a contest, certainly not for a Taper audience in Los Angeles, California.

sweet-sour - Samuel Garza Bernstein - Stage and Cinema - ...read full review


Shari Barrett

Filled with warm humor, tremendous heart, great personal hardship, Review: SWEAT Explores Brutal Realities of Working the Line With Blinders Onand a tremendously talented cast, SWEAT tells the story of a group of friends who have spent their lives sharing drinks, secrets and laughs while working together on the factory floor at a mill in Reading, Pennsylvania. In fact, generations of local families have been employed there for years, but not much has changed until the economic crisis in 2000 brings layoffs, unexpected promotions and picket lines begin to chip away at their trust of each other

sweet - Shari Barrett - Broadway World - ...read full review


Avatar

...Patano seems tantalizingly real in the part. Almost everything in "Sweat" does: the resentment, the fear, the arguments, and the compassion hemmed in by dangerous necessity.

sweet - Adam Brinklow - Edge Media Network - ...read full review


Avatar

While riveting, the play is overly wordy and at times the action seems to drag, especially in the long first act. The strength is in the fine ensemble cast, ably directed by Lisa Peterson. Many of us have trouble getting into the mindset of people whose lives are so different from our own. Sweat helps us empathize with their humanity and come closer to feeling their pain.

sweet-sour - Marilyn Tower Oliver - Los Feliz Ledger - ...read full review


Avatar

The moments and actors who really do come to embody the lived tragedy of these characters just serve to reveal the moments that aren't full. It's frustrating because watching “Sweat” is like catching glimmers of greatness through a locked fence - the promise is just out of reach. Maybe that's oddly appropriate for this great play. There's enough of the play there to recommend it …but I'm warning you now, you could walk out longing for the production and cast that reveals all it's tragic power.

sweet-sour - Anthony Byrnes - KCRW 89.9 FM - ...read full review


Avatar

SWEAT is a little too long in some scenes, and I did notice a few audience members leave. However, they missed out on seeing one of the most powerful scenes with a surprising twist.

sweet - Jill Weinlein - On Stage Blog - ...read full review


Frances Baum Nicholson

A portrait of the disintegration of the traditional manufacturing towns of the midwest, it answers for the uninitiate multiple questions about the elements of malaise which have infected that part of the country, from amplified racism to opioid abuse. That it does so without preaching or reaching for easy answers, and with considerable humor, makes “Sweat” a gift to watch.

sweet - Frances Baum Nicholson - Daily News - ...read full review


Avatar

Despite that factor and the play's length and slight tendency to preach, the production rarely drags. Its characters are human. Its closing moment could be stronger, but by then the tale has been told and its argument reverberates keenly in a society that has yet to come to grips with its issues, its anti-immigrant rage, opioid devastation and gun fatalities. Nottage doesn't do the work for us, but she does give out very clear instructions on connecting the dots.

sweet - Sylvie Drake - Cultural Weekly - ...read full review


Avatar

Director Lisa Peterson skillfully allows the moments of lighthearted banter between those characters to breathe while ramping up the intensity of their interactions at critical points in the story. All the while she brings a dynamism to the staging, so that scenes where people sit around in a bar talking never feel static... It's a world that many theatergoers have never experienced firsthand, so in that way, Nottage provides us the opportunity to feel empathy with those so far from us, both geographically and otherwise. - RECOMMENDED

sweet - Mayank Keshaviah - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Travis Michael Holder

In real life—such that it is these days—playwright Lynn Nottage spent time in Reading, Pennsylvania getting to know and talking to displaced steelworkers before she began to write her Pulitzer Prize-winning play and surely this insight in the conditions they were forced to endure plays a heavy role in why "Sweat" makes such a powerful statement. The situation, though horrendously awful and morally sickening, is not hard to imagine these dark days, something the writer clarifies by creating exceptionally real dialogue and characters who are the kind of people many of us avoid when we choose not to go “home” for Thanksgiving.

sweet - Travis Michael Holder - TicketHolders LA - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

Though only folks with $30 to $99 at their disposal will be able to catch Sweat at the Taper, characters like those Lynn Nottage has created can rejoice in knowing that their lives have been well served. As gripping as it is insightful, Sweat does its factory-working protagonists proud.

sweet - Steven Stanley - Stage Scene LA - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon

Curiously, though, I didn't see any reference to the historic 2008 election. But if I read the play correctly, I think Nottage is trying to tell us that for large segments of white Americans fed up with the crumbling of their promised security, the stage had been set to place the anger onto “upstart” people of color whom they singled out as not true Americans—and remember, please, who carried the banner of the “birther” movement higher than anyone in those years: none other than a racist, self-promoting real estate mogul from New York City. The idiotic vision of Sarah Palin a heartbeat away from the presidency might have motivated enough swing voters to either stay home or cast their vote for America's first black presidential candidate, but the seeds of know-nothingism at the highest political levels had been sown. And look where we are now.

sweet - Eric A Gordon - People's World - ...read full review


Avatar

This powerful and prescient story might have been even more effective had it been cut some; several scenes, particularly ones in which the trio lashes out at the beleaguered Cynthia, repeat themselves, and the jumping back in forth in time also lessens impact.

What shines through, though, is Nottage's fiery dialogue, the superb acting of the ensemble cast, and Lisa Peterson's incisive direction. Yee Eun Nam's kaleidoscopic projection design also gives the play a vivid backdrop.

sweet-sour - Willard Manus - Total Theater - ...read full review


Avatar

It feels too often like a sociological constructed laboratory experiment of even-keeled fairness. Each of the nine characters gets an origin monologue, each gets to reveal secret hopes and fears, and violence plays out with a kind of dull inevitability. Scenes that should be riveting are oddly perfunctory. The play tries not to preach while preaching to the choir... The cast is uniformly excellent, physically embodying the time shifts with graceful skill... This production is sturdy and grounded, but for me it doesn't soar. Despite the considerable gifts of the actors, the characters are more archetypes than real people. It feels like a debate where we're supposed to learn things and pick a side which is kind of boring, especially when there isn't really a contest, certainly not for a Taper audience in Los Angeles, California.

sweet-sour - Samuel Garza Bernstein - Stage and Cinema - ...read full review