TAG - The Actors’ Group fills a unique niche in Honolulu’s theatre community by staging productions in an intimate setting with a passion and commitment to excellence and diversity.  TAG - The Actors' Group is a public charity as outlined in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

by Lynn Nottage
directed by Joyce Maltby

1pm Saturday, January 26  
& 6pm Sunday, January 27, 2019

Show runs April 12 - May 5, 2019

email  [email protected] to read the script

It is important to note that all of the characters were born in the USA…specifically in Berks County, PA. The following description includes the playwrights mentioning of the family origin of descent of a few of the characters but has no connection to ethnic dialect. They are Pennsylvanians. Also, some of the scenes in this play take place in 2000 and some take place in 2008. Therefore the playwright has listed their ages with both years in mind. The director has chosen to list the playwright’s listing of ethnicity and age for an overall understanding of a very general description of the characters. There is flexibility in casting.

EVAN, late 40’s, Male, African-American, Parole officer
JASON, 21/29 Male, White American of German descent
CHRIS, Male, 21/29, African-American
STAN, 50’s, Male, White American of German descent, Bar Tender who runs the bar
OSCAR, 22/30, Male, Colombian -American, busboy
TRACEY, 45/53, Female, White American of German descent, factory worker
CYNTHIA, Female, 45/53, African-American, factory worker
JESSIE, Female, 40’s, Italian-American, factory worker
BRUCIE, Male, 40’s, African-American
The play is centered on the working class of Reading, Pennsylvania, in the year 2000 and a group of friends who go to work at the steel mill and then decompress at the bar like they’ve been doing for over 20 years. But, unbeknownst to them, their lives are about to be uprooted. Their steel mill, Olstead’s, is making some changes and the generations of loyalty these workers have shown, don’t seem to amount to much. These middle class, unionized, steelworkers have made plans to save money, go on vacations and then retire with a nice, healthy pension, but when rumors start flying that the company is considering layoffs, and flyers are hung to recruit non-union Latino workers for less money, the war between community and capitalism begins, and tensions start destroying not only jobs, but also relationships. This poignant play takes a look at the de-industrial revolution through the lens of a history play, but also delves into the issues of today: the economy, immigration, and race-relations in America. It’s political context has also been noted, particularly focusing on the similarities between the description of the industrial working class in a Rust Belt town, and that being a significant area and demographic in the 2016 United States presidential election. Lynn Nottage’s Sweat gives us characters filled with the good and the bad and asks us to reflect on our own views and the views of others. Nottage never tells us who’s right or who’s wrong, but always shows us who’s human.
Filled with warm humor and tremendous heart, 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. But when layoffs and picket lines begin to chip away at their trust, the friends find themselves pitted against each other in a heart-wrenching fight to stay afloat.
"Keenly observed and often surprisingly funny-but ultimately heartbreaking-the work traces the roots of a tragedy with both forensic psychological detail and embracing compassion. Ms. Nottage...is writing at the peak of her powers..." -NY Times. "...passionate and necessary...a masterful depiction of the forces that divide and conquer us...SWEAT communicates its points with minimal fuss and maximum grit. Along with the rage, despair and violence, there's humor and abundant humanity...a cautionary tale of what happens when you don't know how to resist." -Time Out NY. "Sharp and threatening as a box cutter blade...ferociously engrossing...SWEAT never feels less than authentic-and crucial." -Deadline.com