Review: Awake and Sing!

By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  January 21, 2009

That's also the problem, to greater consequence, with Bessie. When a woman who has been nothing but self-centered and manipulative eventually reveals that she really cares about her daughter and son, that can be powerful theater — but not unless an earlier moment or two has sparked the suspicion. Bessie's desperation could draw some sympathy from us, but it's hard to glimpse helpful intentions beneath her bluster.

In its time, Awake and Sing! was appreciated not for its skillfully drawn characters but rather for how it spoke to the era, expressing the nation's yearnings and contradictions. The play is considered Odets's masterpiece, but he wasn't yet a master, so he populated the stage with stereotypes. (His better-drawn one-act Waiting for Lefty, also set in the Depression, opens at Providence College February 6.) With the naturalistic set design by William P. Wieters and spot-on costume design by Marilyn Salvatore, this production is physically convincing but remains emotionally unengaging.

< prev  1  |  2  | 
  Topics: Theater , Fred Sullivan, Providence College, Clifford Odets,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   MEN AT WORK  |  April 16, 2014
    The Pulitzer Prize Board, which likes to honor theatrical gems of Americana, may have been remiss in not nominating David Rabe’s 1984 ' Hurlyburly .'
  •   SEARCHING FOR CLUES  |  April 09, 2014
    A "girl detective" makes her  world premiere.
  •   ROSE-COLORED MEMORIES  |  April 09, 2014
    Incessant media accounts of horrific events can prompt compassion fatigue.
  •   MENTAL SHRAPNEL  |  April 02, 2014
    Brave or foolhardy? The Wilbury Theatre Group is presenting Sarah Kane’s controversial Blasted , a 1995 play that at the time was decried as juvenile, taken to the woodshed by critics, and flayed to shreds.
  •   A ROWDY ROMP  |  March 26, 2014
    In his time, Georges Feydeau was to theater what McDonald’s is to cuisine — cheap, easy to consume, and wildly popular.

 See all articles by: BILL RODRIGUEZ