The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

A Play about the Lives of Workers

May 29, 2023

A Pulitzer prize-winning play has made its Michigan premiere at the Detroit Repertory Theater. SWEAT, written by Lynn Nottage, is the story of people who had been steelworkers in Reading, Pennsylvania. Based on the real lives of workers who had been locked out of their factory for 92 weeks, this play examines the lives of steel workers left behind by the economic crisis in the early 2000s. Set in a bar, where people unwind, relax, laugh and spar, their story is a slice of life about workers who have been told they have to take a pay cut to save their jobs; who have been injured on the job and can no longer do factory work; who have faced prison time; and who have been pitted against each other—for a job. It deals with class and race and the changing ethnic composition of the city.

It may be set in one city, but it’s the story of hardworking people everywhere, who, despite their work, find themselves impacted by decisions made by rich corporations. Nottage’s work has been described as going into “the heart of working class America” and as a “powerful look at identity, race, economy and humanity.”

Performances of SWEAT at the Detroit Repertory Theater will be held through June 25th. This historic theater company is renowned for its excellent productions. And, at a time when entertainment is so expensive, the fact that you can go to live theater for a modest cost is something to embrace.