POST: 'Sweat' - both perspectives, the struggling white worker and the struggling minority

What'd I experience?

Boy, was I sweating when I came into the theatre.

 

To be honest, getting to the theatre was an experience in it of itself. I found out I was going to show earlier in the day; and it was such a rush. I had class all day, a club meeting in which we planned for a huge event, and then I was tutoring until 6:30.  Generally, show's start at 8. Apparently, that is not generally the case. When I checked my e-mail and found out I needed to pick up the tickets at the theatre at 6:45---Well shit. When I tell you I ran, that does not even cover half of it. I could see the regret on my poor friend's face, who agreed to come with me earlier. 

I arrived at the Public Theatre at 7:05, and that was okay, I would pick up the theatre tickets from the front and all would be swell. I walked up to the front desk with confidence, "Do you have tickets under Maham Ghani?"
"Uh... sorry, no"
"Oh...PXP? PXP Magazine?" "Sorry ma'am"
"Someone dropped them off at the front for me...can you try Patrick Berger?" (Patrick Berger is our lovely Supervisor)
"No...I'm sorry..."
I walked away defeated. And panicking. I was panicking real hard.

It was now 7:15...the show was going on. I could almost hear it. My friend turned to me and gave a somewhat encouraging face. I went up to someone official-looking and asked if they could help me.  I said I was from PXP Magazine, and if they could check again for me because I was sure there were two tickets for me. He went to the back and came back shaking his head.

"Could you try TDF? It's from TDF... is there anything with TDF on it?" He went back, and once again came back shaking his head. I sighed. I kind of wanted to give up. I did give up, really. I went outside and sat on the steps. My friend however, was not accepting it. He was pissed, and reminded me that we did not come all the way here for nothing. I agreed to try one more time. I went to the front desk and asked if there was anything under TDF (during my panic I texted Patrick, who said it really should have been under TDF) ...

Low and behold, it was.

7:32 At this point I was tired, but, relieved.
They took us up to the third floor and waiting for aa queue to let us in.
I could hear the show while waiting in the dark staircase.
I heard a woman, singing, and a lot of laughter. 
The laughter wasn't from the crowd though, it was from on stage. 

FINALLY--MUSIC QUEUED. WE WERE LET ON.

Okay, I was ready. I was so ready to sit down, relax, and enjoy myself. 
My friend and I were both terribly exhausted, we melted into the chairs.

Okay, so, I think it was really important to let you guys know what was going on before I saw the show, because my stress really amplified my view of the show after. 

I was confused (probably because I came in thirty minutes late) but I figured out that they were doing time lapses between the present and the past.
The past was... it was almost like I could feel the nostalgia.
The past was the "good times"
It was before things got hard, before choices needed to be made, responsibility taken.
The past is carefree.
The future
The future was... rough. 
It was darker, it was like every breath they took, every sentence they said, was strained.
I would be lying if I said I didn't find some familiarity in there. 
Of course, I could not relate entirely to the context of the play, but I could entirely relate to the feeling of our choices having weight and consequences

BUT--Let's talk about the play
Basically: it takes place during a time of coal mines, and racism. 
An African American woman gets a job, that her really good white friend wanted. 
It was funny how quickly the racism came out as soon as the African American woman got the job.
It was also about minorities taking jobs at a lower price, a price the previous (mostly white) workers did not want to take. 
Instead of being angry at the company for pushing them out and lowering their wages, everyone was upset with the minorities for taking "their" jobs. 
I was angry
disgusted
exhausted
but walking out of the play
I felt safe.
It was a play about the past

Of course racism exists now, but does it exist so explicitly?
No. Of course not. People are racist now, but it tends to be kept in. 
There are laws protecting minorities.
People know, they for sure know, that racism is wrong.
The events that followed the days after November 8th, 2016, I wasn't so sure anymore. 
The day Donald Trump was named President-Elect, I just was not sure. 

I don't want to use this platform to express my disdain for who was elected, but I do want to use it to express my fear. It's really scary, being a Muslim American, knowing that about half our country voted for someone who represents white supremacy.  Someone who makes minorities out to be the enemy--people who do not deserve the greatness that America can offer. Rather than seeing minorities as victims of a system filled with barriers--to success, healthcare, education--seeing them as people who leach off the system.

But you know what I keep hearing? Not all the people that voted for Trump voted out of racism; they voted because they wanted change. They voted because they are struggling, and need someone to take them in a new direction. 

I immediately thought of Sweat.
I think the play really showed the situation from the perspective both of the struggling white worker, the struggling minority, and the confusion that can arise between them. 


Want to see it?

$25 General Rush

Sweat 
Public Theater
thru Dec. 18


What'd you experience?

Let PXP know in the comments below.