I greatly enjoyed Sweat and its close ties to things happening both in America and here in Britain. I feel as if it actually touched upon subjects that aren’t real talked about in the news when discussing political elections. Although there is a lot of good that can be said about this play, I’ve picked my three favourite bits from it.
The first was at the very beginning in when Jason was arguing with the counsellor. Initially I will admit that I wasn’t that interested in what they were saying, however I did make sure that I was paying a little bit of attention. Then, when Jason said the N word, I literally got out of my seat. It came out of nowhere and I felt like that sort of raw and unfiltered language really helped push forward a lot of other people’s characters. In fact, later on in the performance, we find out that Jason got a lot of his ideals from his mother, Tracey. I really liked the slow progression of this character and how he’s influenced by a lot of his surroundings, especially the negative ones. He takes out his anger on Oscar, who he thinks is an immigrant and therefore a threat, instead of focusing on the bigger picture of the factory owners trying to take away their wages and their livelihood. I think this accurately shows how some working-class people can sway towards racist politics instead of focusing on taking down the bigger threat to their livelihoods. Look at how many people voted for Trump, blaming their unemployment and social problems on immigrants!
My second favourite part was the big fight near the end. This, in my opinion, was one of the best performances because we truly got to see how all the characters got into their different situations. My favourite part of the fight, however, was when Chris switched from helping Oscar to beating him up as soon as his friend, Jason, was hurt. I feel like this was the point where the town symbolically trapped him. Throughout the performance, both his mother and dead-beat father warned him about ending being a victim to the town, however we only saw the exact point when this happened during this fight that I feel that the play had been leading up to. This was one of the biggest tragedies of the performance as he had so many opportunities to focus on himself and better his life, however, he chose to stay behind. Or did he choose? Some say that that was honourable; however, I thought that it was stupid. Instead of working on his own life, he chose to stray and sail on a sinking ship to the point when he was willing to go against his own mother. The play made me think about how we always have a choice, but sometimes we don’t see our options until it’s too late.
Lastly, my third favourite moment in the play was the very end where we find out what happened to Stan. The reveal was absolutely tragic, and I felt the energy in the room drop. It was so sad to see what had happened and the play’s abrupt cut off was almost as if we were kicked out of the lives of these characters almost like when the workers were kicked out of the factory so abruptly. When the lights dimmed, I was ready to find out what happened next only to find out that it was over, with no more explanation. However, I feel like that was the perfect ending, not only did it leave the audience wanting more, it also reflected one of the lessons that I took from Sweat: life doesn’t always owe you an explanation.