Clifford Odets’s ‘Awake and Sing!’

Charles Isherwood in the New York Times:

Sing1450Life 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?

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 suffuses 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.

In the stirring revival that opened last night at the Belasco Theater, where “Awake and Sing!” was first produced in 1935 during the brief but influential heyday of the Group Theater, the tension derives above all from the question marks on the faces of the younger characters onstage.

More here.  And here is an article about the play by John Lahr. [Thanks to Barbara and Peter Nicholson for taking my wife and me to the play.]

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