Friday, November 12, 2010
Awake and Sing will resonate and open at the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, November 18
You do not require a preview. You may be living this now or perhaps you know someone presently barely living month to month, a multi-generational family packed into a limited living space packed with dreams of better days in the future. Times are tough even if times are manageably leaner for you. Foreclosures, unemployment, desperation, lost investments, people holding on to what remnants of dignity they can muster, political divisions that may have you feeling as if a revolution brews.
This play by Clifford Odets, set in New York’s Bronx of 1933, saw its first production at the Belasco Theatre in 1935. A 2006 reprise at the same theatre in 2006 won a Tony© award for best revival. No doubt, the subject matter had something to do with that. But when you experience this play, you’ll realize a greater personal reward in meeting some interesting people like you as you travel back to another time that informs this time.
I read the script recently and watched director Karen Paisley’s first run-through with her “Berger family and friends” cast last week. I could only stay for the first act. What an act. What a story. But you know this story well. You’ll recognize these people. Maybe you’ve seen one of them in the mirror. This may seem too hard for you to see, too painful to hear.
If you feel numb, this will awaken you. If you feel distanced, this could connect you. If you’re a grandparent, Jacob may say things you’ve only thought. You may have been a Hennie Berger once. Your teenage children should meet Ralph Berger. If you’re a parent, Bessie and Myron Berger could have you shaking your head with amazement but more likely familiarity. Everybody knows a Moe Axelrod; a tough wise damaged veteran. You may be wishing for a rich uncle but you may not like Uncle Morty. Recently-emigrated Sam, like you perhaps, desires to fit into this America. And we all feel like the janitor, Schlosser, at one time or another.
After the play, stay a bit and meet these people at the MET. This is a theatre where despite the magic, you'll feel like you're at home; where you may get a hug from the director and the actors won't be acting when you shake their hand.
I forgot that you don’t need a preview and you're busy. Like Jacob, you probably have things to do, books to read, music you'd like to hear, and a revolution to plan. Jacob will be taking the dog, Tootsie, to their Bronx apartment building walk-up roof for a constitutional. Hopefully, he scoops because Schlosser’s tired of cleaning up after Tootsie.
Awake and Sing. Have a pleasant day and when you do, do what’s in your heart.
Did anyone feed the dog today?
12 opportunities to “Awake and Sing”
November 18 – 21 (Thu – Sun), 26 – 29 (Fri – Mon), and December 2 – 5 (Thu – Sun)
Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre
3614 Main, KCMO 64111
816. 569. 3226