New World School of the Arts brings Lynn Nottage’s award-winning play Sweat to life on the mainstage in the school’s black box theater. Directed by NWSA theatre professor James Randolph, the play puts on display the talent of the NWSA BFA college theater students, including several seniors who will be graduating this spring. Sweat won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2017 as well as an Obie Award. Sweat also received three Tony Award nominations and a Drama Desk Award nomination.
In the role of Chris, one of the protagonists of Sweat, NWSA college theatre first year student Yamil Garcia discusses the value of being cast in the production, “Seeing another view into the economic structure of the United States and letting those circumstances build into my character work helps me grow as an artist. Performing on stage with multiple talented students in my cast is a true honor. Being in the same room as Mr. Randolph has been an inspiration to me as he has taught me many things in only a month. For example, a quote that stands out to me which he says a lot is: It’s not real fun, it’s theater fun.”
“This production helps the artists push themselves to the extreme. The play is talking 90% of the time, and things that are said are nasty. Some actors must play characters older than themselves or go outside of themselves. This is beneficial because it pushes them.” Eric Gospodinoff, NWSA college theatre junior in the role of Jason, best friend of Chris.
Sweat, first performed Off-Broadway in 2016 and on Broadway just a year later, portrays a meeting between a parole officer and two ex-convicts, and three women who were childhood friends and had worked in the same factory in Reading, Pennsylvania. The play focuses on an eight-year time frame starting in the year 2000, a perceived time of prosperity, and jumping back-and-forth to the year 2008, a time of economic collapse and hardship for the characters, using flashbacks. As the landscape of big business evolved, trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement also known as NAFTA, contributed to the collapse of America’s labor class stability.
“In this play the voices of the labor class, many of whom have historically claimed that they have been ignored, are heard. There are various ethnic groups in the play that have coexisted but as the money goes so does the tolerance. While there is humor and great humanity in the play, the struggle for survival is something that is universal, and it shows us how one bad choice made by two of the characters can affect many lives all at once, turning daily living into a crapshoot. Lynn Nottage began working on Sweat in 2011 and she interviewed numerous residents of Reading, Pennsylvania, which at the time was officially one of the poorest cities in America with a poverty rate of over 40% (according to the United States Census Bureau). Nottage was inspired by the occupy Wall Street movement and her inspiration also came from her family – she witnessed strong women growing up and wanted to do the same herself. As she observed the struggle of people who lost jobs in the period from 2008-20 and the movement of heavy industry out of specific geographical areas, she felt the need to do more. In writing the play, she raises important issues and shows the vulnerability of the average American worker,” director Randolph notes.
The New World School of the Arts theatre program is dedicated to the professional training of talented and committed students interested in pursuing performing careers on stage, screen, and in other media, offering students an opportunity to work in a hands-on intensive, physically demanding, artistically challenging and exciting environment. Guided by faculty who are professional actors, directors, playwrights and designers, the curriculum is a progressive journey toward the ownership of a personal technique and a comprehensive methodology of working. The faculty guides the student through the discovery and exploration of self, the learning of diverse techniques used in our craft, intensive rehearsal process, and finally the application of this knowledge into dramatic forms and styles in productions. The NWSA college BFA theater program culminates with in-person senior showcases in Miami and New York City, and a virtual showcase for regional markets. Information about the NWSA theater program at 305-237-3260.
A Florida center of excellence in the visual and performing arts, New World School of the Arts is an educational partnership of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami Dade College, and University of Florida. NWSA provides a comprehensive program of artistic, creative, and academic development through a curriculum that reflects our community and the rich multicultural state of Florida. Through our partners NWSA confers the high school diploma, Associate of Arts degree, and Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Music degrees in programs accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance, Music, Theatre and Art & Design. NWSA’s rigorous eight-year curriculum and conservatory-style teaching has empowered students in our community and our nation to become leaders in the arts for more three decades. Information about New World School of the Arts at 305-237-3135 or nwsa.mdc.edu.
February 23; 7:30 PM
February 24; 7:30 PM
February 25; 2:00 PM
March 1; 7:30 PM
March 2; 7:30 PM
March 3; 2:00 PM
Louise O. Gerrits Theater
25 NE 2nd Street, 8th Floor, Miami
General admission $12 / Students and seniors $5