Life begins tomorrow for the anxious souls inhabiting an overstuffed Bronx apartment in Clifford Odets’s “Awake and Sing!” Or was it over long before yesterday?
This rarely produced Odets classic captured the spirit of 1930s New York from the perspective of a second-generation Jewish immigrant family as they struggled for survival against the backdrop of the Great Depression.
Dreams and disappointments, hopes and fears, encouraging words and bitter put-downs clash by day and night in Odets's turbulent comedy-drama about a Jewish family struggling to stay afloat in the 1930's. Conflict fills the stale air with a tension that almost seems to have mottled the walls. Dinner becomes a simmering battle between factions, in which grievances and recriminations are passed around the table along with the salt and pepper.
Clifford Odetts paints a picture of life being lived for all it's worth, despite the grinding oppressions of subsisting on the knife edge of poverty. The sweep of American history ran roughshod over some of the ideals Odets and other artists championed in the 1930's.
But ideals are not old newspapers, withering into dust. Even tattered, they endure. And as this moving drama reminds us, the song of human aspiration is always sweet to hear.
This great play produced strong audience support and an ensemble cast who truly enjoyed working together.
READ STAGE MAGAZINES REVIEW: AWAKE AND SING at SCTC: Idealism vs Realism – Odets Style