THE BLOG

SWEAT: A PORTRAIT OF AMERICA’S RURAL WORKING CLASS FAMILIES

Trustus Theatre brings its second Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Sweat by Lynn Nottage, to its stage this season. Sweat, the second most produced play in the United States this season, brings to light the harsh realities of what it’s like to survive on minimum wage in one of the poorest cities in the country and the dissolution of the American dream. This play speaks to Columbia’s history—once a regional textile manufacturing center with six mills in operation and 3,400 millworkers—and to how easily the American dream can be lost when the country’s economy struggles. Sweat will open on the Trustus Theatre Main Stage on Friday, May 17 and will run through Saturday, June 1, 2019. It is directed by guest artist Erin Wilson—a Core Ensemble Member of PURE Theatre in Charleston, SC. Tickets may be purchased at www.trustus.org or by calling the Trustus Box Office at 803-254-9732.

Reading, Pennsylvania. A valley town of fiercely proud families who worked for generations in the plants and factories of a thriving county seat. Unions rule, well-paying jobs are coveted, and politics are personal. Having grown up side-by-side in Reading, best friends Tracey and Cynthia went from fun-loving schoolchildren to saloon-loving adults who work together on a steel manufacturing line. In a tight-knit community like this one, however, it takes but one fracture in its core for the breaking point of friendship to be seismically tested. Inspired by field research and first-person testimonials collected in Reading, PA, Lynn Nottage’s unflinching, intensely researched, and Pulitzer-winning slice-of-life drama, Sweat, captures the pressure cooker of trying times—where a lethal combination of layoffs, lockouts, and picket lines sends the Rust Belt way of life into crisis, leaving us to ask the question: how do we face change?

This play was written by two-time Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage and won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It will be directed by Erin Wilson, a Core Ensemble Member of PURE Theatre in Charleston, SC and the daughter of Trustus Theatre Co-Founder and original Artistic Director Jim Thigpen. The play stars Patrick Dodds (Jason), Steve Harley (Stan), Christine Hellman (Jessie), Darion McCloud (Bruce), Samuel McWhite (Evan), Dewey Scott-Wiley (Tracy), Lonetta Thompson (Cynthia), Samuel Traquina (Oscar), and De’On Turner (Chris) will be making his Trustus Theatre debut.

“Sweat is a play that makes you feel things,” said director Erin Wilson. “It’s got a touch of mystery, and a quickly accelerating story that keeps you leaning forward in your seat. You simultaneously root for and against the characters, who are fascinating and infuriating and funny and painfully flawed. I really think Lynn Nottage created the perfect story in Sweat. And it’s the kind of story that Trustus has been telling since 1985. I’m proud to be a part of the storytelling. To collaborate with thoughtful, creative, hard-working, smart, funny people. And to make people feel things. That’s the goal.”

Sweat will run from Friday, May 17 through to Saturday, June 1, 2019 and tickets are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Trustus Theatre Box Office at 803-254-9732 or online at trustus.org. Opening night is Friday, May 17, at 8pm. The performances following are on Saturday, May 18, at 8pm; Sunday, May 19, at 3pm; Thursday, May 23, at 8pm; Friday, May 24, at 8pm; Saturday, May 25, at 8pm; Sunday, May 26, at 3pm; Thursday, May 30, at 8pm; Friday, May 31, at 8pm; and Saturday, June 1, at 8pm.

Trustus Theatre believes that ticket prices shouldn’t keep theatre-lovers from being able to experience great professional theatre. This is why they offer one I.P.W.I.C. (I Pay What I Can) matinee on the first Sunday of each non-musical run. For Sweat, the I.P.W.I.C. matinee is Sunday, May 19, 2019 at 3pm. Based on availability, tickets can be purchased for a donation of $1 and they are available on a first come first served basis one hour prior to curtain at the box office window. Patrons wishing to guarantee seats are still able to reserve preferred seating for these performances at the regular matinee ticket price.

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