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Lynn Nottage’s “Sweat” Play Production

‘Sweat’ is a magnificent attempt to express the feelings of unionized workers in a Pennsylvania steel town in 2010, whose wages are slowly being cut by the company, falling for the savings promised by NAFTA. It was exciting how the brutal bosses and their inhuman system of capitalist competition forced different racial groups of the working class to devour themselves. It is meaningful as current America is full of wounded in this bloody battle. The play can be compared to one of the most penetrating studies of the economic insecurity that fuels the political rage and racial tension sweeping the world (Nottage 2017). What is also challenging is that the author reveals the mystery as early as the prologue, but it is hard enough to unravel, and the play becomes a real puzzle that keeps them impatient the whole time.

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It is also striking how abruptly the scenes and action change. The play instantly becomes a grim social drama about factory operators in the NAFTA era who may have their last money taken away. However, the most ingenious aspect is the way Lynn Nottage takes advantage of the complex translucent stage of the Tupper Forum, enhancing the intimacy and creating a sense of eavesdropping on the characters. The symbolism is particularly touching, with mechanics who have worked together for many years, firmly bonded by sweat equity, and their children who continue that lineage (Nottage 2017). It is meaningful that the playwright moved away from the familiar theme of family relationships and showed reality with its economic problems and racial discrimination. It determines how these concepts begin to intertwine and be dependent on each other. It is also unique in its relevance because even now, inequality is loudly on society’s agenda

What were you attempting to achieve in the last chapter of the play? What are the essential messages you want to express in the story, and in what parts of the play are they? If you were given an extra week of preparing, what would you practice on?

I want to express my opinion on an interesting and intense performance of the play ‘Sweat’. This is because the play’s staging occurs in Reading, Pennsylvania, and is interspersed between 2000 and 2008. It is significant to mention that the lyrics raise serious issues that were previously relevant to society. Therefore, we heard stories about how people lived on the salary of a mere factory worker and tried to provide for their families with everything they needed (Nottage 2017). At the same time, retirement would relieve the employee; he was rewarded for his hard work. The author presents a very realistic portrayal of the culture of human life and problems.

Additionally, I would like to suggest that Nottage treats her characters with sympathy. Although, she emphasizes that they have such traits as arrogance, stubbornness, and not very sophisticated racism. I like that the personalities are granted time for monologue, where they can show their nature. I enjoyed it when Tracy, from Fitzgerald, reflected on the contributions of her craftsman grandfather (Nottage 2017). In my view, this is one of the song’s most sympathetic moments, and the expositional monologues underscore the reflections on social non-equality.

In my mind, the author has rendered a very subtle emotional interaction between Abercrombie and Fitzgerald. As it can be described as sisterhood and neglect at the same time, it is this contrast that provides the tension and power of the plot. At the same time, the story of a former factory worker whose career was cut short by injury does not leave me indifferent (Nottage 2017). The friendship between the women is also interestingly portrayed in the images of Cherry and Sanchez’s sons, who, along with Casillas, bring the play’s dramatic tension to its maximum level.


Nottage, L. (2017). Sweat. Theatre Communications Group.

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