Peopled by a group of friends and factory workers in America's poverty-stricken Reading, Pennsylvania, Sweat examines the struggles of the working class and the moral price of staying afloat in a world skewered against those most in need. Three best friends drink their troubles away in a bar after a gruelling day on their feet. But their place in the world is becoming ever more precarious, with an upcoming promotion sowing seeds of resentment between them, and their jobs threatened by new workers willing to work at the factory for a lower wage. All the while, the suited bosses with their clean hands and air-conditioned offices, are never to be seen. Race, identity and class intersect in this scorching eye-opener of a play.
Lynn Nottage is an American playwright whose work examines those on the fringe of society. Her previous plays include Intimate Apparel, Ruined and By the Way, Meet Vera Stark. In writing Sweat, she spent time with the people of Reading, one of the poorest cities in the U.S. The piece won her the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as the 2017 Obie Award for Playwrighting for its Public Theater run. In addition, it received several Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations.
Martha Plimpton reprises her role as hard-bitten factory worker Tracey. Her extensive acting credits span film and stage, with appearances on Broadway, off Broadway and across America. She has also appeared previously on the London stage in 2014's Other Desert Cities at the Old Vic.
Further casting for the Gielgud run is to follow. The Donmar run featured a cast of Clare Perkins, Martha Plimpton, Leanne Best, Stuart McQuarrie, Sule Rimi, Patrick Gibson, Sebastian Viveros, Osy Ikhile and Wil Johnson.
Design is by Frankie Bradshaw, lighting by Oliver Fenwick, sound and composition by George Dennis, movement by Polly Bennett, fight direction by Kate Waters and video by Gino Ricardo Green.
The play’s transfer is produced by Mark Rubinstein, Gavin Kalin, Joseph Baker, James Quaife and Micah Frank.
Catch this important, galvanising gut-punch of a play from 7 June until 20th July 2019 at the Gielgud Theatre.