There was no movement, on my part, to delve any further. To contemplate its title or fight my inner new critic voice to go past the simplistic dynamic of friends being friends. After all, this was about work, life, bills, general disagreements — all the elements that build and support the surface of existence. A surface that provides modes of escape, maybe pockets of salvation, as well as possibilities of security.
Sweat is enforcement absolute. Lacan’s mirror phase in perpetual glory that forces its audience to combat the framing of reflection.
The theater lights dim, the stage commands its own form of illumination, much like Angela Carter applied subversion to freedom. Two men divided by their probation officer offer us insight into the “hows” as well as the complexities of change. The scene compounded as the young man, Jason, called the officer the “N” word. Some respond with laughter, others stir in their seats hoping to swim to the surface. There is no escape, just the mirror that Sweat holds defiantly and majestically.
And this is Sweat. The conditions of human disparity, the struggle for socio-economic balance, racial inequality undertones and overtones, the subversive nature of birth and geography, the transcendence of blame. Added to this are powerful performers that go beyond embodiment to touch dark and bright sparks of truth.
I wondered if this was the turning point, where division from act to realism is actually unattainable. I wondered if they could debrief after a show, or if this was their life form as well as ours. The following morning, I still pondered its relentless motion of realization.