It tells the story of a tight group of working-class people in Reading, Pennsylvania, who ― in the face of layoffs, impending poverty, and the threat of incarceration and drug abuse ― come to terms with their collapsing reality. While the characters relay their experiences in a setting that takes place years before President Donald Trump took office, the play slyly answers a question on the minds of many American voters: How did we get here?
(Here, of course, being the “Trump era” of note.)
In an interview with The Huffington Post, Nottage announced that she is currently working on a companion piece to her groundbreaking production. “I have another play that’s in conversation with ‘Sweat,’” Nottage explained, when asked about her plans now that “Sweat” is running smoothly after its Broadway debut earlier this month.
According to Playbill, the new play is currently titled “Floyd” and will be a comedy. (”Sweat” is a drama, though it has moments of comedic relief.) Nottage did not provide any further details regarding her companion piece, but she did supply us with a few more future credits to her name.
“I have some other projects,” she told HuffPost. “I’m doing an adaptation of ‘Black Orpheus,’ the movie, for the stage with director George Wolf; an adaption of ‘The Secret Life of Bees’ with Duncan Sheik and Susan Birkenhead; and I’ve recently finished an adaptation of my play ‘Intimate Apparel’ as an opera with composer Ricky Ian Gordon.”
When pressed on the upcoming companion piece, and how the experience of making “Sweat” influenced Nottage’s practice, she added:
It’s made me think much more expansively about why and how I make art and where I want to make it. And the impact that it can have. I don’t have all the answers to those questions, but certainly, being in Reading has challenged me to think about what it is I want to do and why I do it.
Nottage’s play, set in 2000 and 2008, has been widely celebrated as an illuminating piece of contemporary art.
“The immediacy of it is almost freakish,” MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes told Variety. “I’m not sure how [Nottage] managed it. Not only is it great as drama, in that it’s incredibly well-crafted with well-drawn characters, but it’s also one of the most sophisticated political texts I’ve encountered in a long while.”
Read more about “Sweat” here.