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Mobile Unit National: SWEAT | The Public Theater

The Public Theater is an Off-Broadway
theater in New York and the Mobile Unit really lives at the heart of what we do.
This very play that you’re seeing tonight is travelling through 18
different communities in five states – Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, and
we’re ending our tour here in Wisconsin. We’re just so thrilled that you’re a part
of that journey with us. When I first wrote the play it was really clear to me
from the very moment that I wanted it to be back in the Redding community. The
minute we closed the play after its run at The Public, at 7:00 the next morning
we got on the bus and we went down to Redding, Pennsylvania and we performed
the play for 500 people there and I think we could not anticipate the kind
of response that we got. But what we realized in that moment that this was a
play that was meant to be in conversation with people. That it wasn’t
a play that belonged on the proscenium, but it was a play that had to live
amongst the community because of the conversation that happens afterwards.
Raise your hand if you have ever felt like an “us” or a “them” in your community. If you look at some of the inside, the
conditions of some of these places, the stuff that people have to endure, and
what their… it’s terrible. Most of the people that will be here tonight have
never been to a play. I’ve seen the part where he played, you know, as like when
the drug set in. You need to pull yourself together this bullshit’s got to
stop. I’m trying. Don’t give me that look I’m trying, ok?
I’m trying. Being on the other side and falling victim to drug addiction, I have
a daughter at Rutgers University right now I remember she’s just telling me
like “Dad, I love you. Where’s my dad?” Tonight made me know how
angry I was when I was out of work and it’s bad when you’re mad and angry and
don’t know who to take it out on. You don’t never know what you had ’til it get
taken from you. And they were gonna take us and move us to what was going to be
now known as Minnesota. It was called the Indian Removal Act and it was kind of
the Ojibwe Trail of Tears. The people in Hayward, the people in Hurley, these are
communities that rose up and fought with the Ojibwe’s to keep them here.
We’re in this together. I mean you guys did an amazing job tonight and it’s
going to be the story I’m gonna tell my kids I’m gonna say “and these guys from
New York that came in they did this thing and they had these accents and it
was amazing.” Just to be here to experience everybody in the moment
discover every place that we went to every place that we went to was a new
place, a new community, a new experience, and just to the watch to joy and sometimes
anger, sometimes, pain we really have to go there. To me this is what theater is
meant to be. It’s meant to be this conversation, it’s meant to be this close,
and it’s meant to really represent a broad spectrum of our population and
things that are oftentimes unseen and unspoken. I mean I’ve been angry for a
lot of years but now I feel better. Those of us that are here tonight, we can go
back and say you know I went through a segment of healing and we have a lot of
people that are still holding emotions. Even though there are times that are
very difficult, there’s always hope at the end. All we have to do is come
together and help each other.

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