United Steelworkers

What happens when factory jobs disappear? Playwright Lynn Nottage investigates in 'Sweat'

What happens when factory jobs disappear? Playwright Lynn Nottage investigates in 'Sweat'

In a blue-collar bar in Reading, Pa., a onetime factory worker contemplates the news that management has locked out his former union colleagues.

“One day life is good, the next you’re treading water,” he says. “That’s not supposed to happen to folks like us.”

Solid job, dependable middle-class life — that’s all being pulled from the grasp of the workers depicted in “Sweat,” a play that Lynn Nottage wrote after 2½  years of interviewing Reading residents in the early 2010s.

“It’s what I call the de-industrial revolution,” Nottage, a Pulitzer winner and onetime MacArthur grant...

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