Alison Wright and Michelle Wilson Share Tales from "Sweat"
For our Broadway week, Steve Adubato sits down with actresses Alison Wright and Michelle Wilson from “Sweat,” the 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning play which is nominated for three Tony Awards in 2017 including Best Play. Michelle Wilson is also up for Best Featured Actress.
"Welcome to the Tisch WNET Studio here in the heart of Lincoln Center. The greatest thing... one of the greatest things about being in this studio is you get the most talented people, actors, right here on Broadway. Wow. Alison Wright, Michelle Wilson, starring in Sweat. A new play over at the Studio 54 on West 54th Street? That's correct. Play takes place in Reading, Pennsylvania in a bar. Is that the primary scene? Yes it is. Okay. Pulitzer Prize winning play? Now if... we're gonna show some pictures... Sweat is about what? It's about a community in Reading, Pennsylvania. Folks who have worked together for decades, and we go through the good times with them, and it switches to when things start to fall apart. Hmm. Due to deindustrialization. So... and the toll it takes on the community. They're losing jobs? Mm hmm. Losing faith? There's tension? There's anger? Resentment? Is real life? Yes it is. The timing of this, particularly after, I don't want to get political... Right. Particularly after the 2016 election. The reaction to it... it's interesting. You think different in connection with where we are in America right now politically? Well I think, election aside, and that sort of idea of the thought aside, it's really... Lynn has captured this time in America, where these cities that were dedicated to these plants and factories and American institutions, that were rooted there, and their fathers had worked there, their grandfathers had worked there, or their mothers, and their grandmothers, and that was kind of that piece of the American Dream that they expected to have. And that they invested in. And there's been many places across America where that has been taken away from Americans when they didn't expect it to be. So that's really what this play is about. And what Lynn wrote the play about. Almost the disappearance... Lynn was the playwright? Lynn Nottage. Yes. Double Pulitzer Prize winner. Yes. Yes. Lynn Nottage. I think that's the moment in time of America that she's captured, more than commenting on anything political. Yeah. Because it takes place in 2000 and 2008. So this is a decade ago. People have been suffering for a long time, and have felt invisible. And what she does so well is she casts a light on a part of America that a lot of us have actually forgotten. And as she puts it, she was curious about it. She wanted to replace judgement of this sort... With curiosity. ...with curiosity. And that's the result of the play that we have now. It's so interesting. We were just having a conversation during lunch about race, and how easy or difficult it is to talk..."