Awake and Sing!

I like theater, and don’t see enough of it. I worked stage crew in high school and at the local Nutley Little Theater, which helped me appreciate live performance. I love movies, but they can’t compare with the passion of the stage.

Last night Firecracker and I went to see her friend Mark in a performance of Clifford Odets’ Awake and Sing!, about a family surviving the Depression in the Bronx. Mark played the sad sack father. The characters were big and broad and it felt like good crime fiction, or the “social” stories that literature used to tell. Sean Weil – Liam from “Boardwalk Empire” – had the meaty role of Mo Axelrod, a war vet who lost his leg and any illusions he had about the world. Mrs. Berger is the bombastic mother who is every bit his match, caught between crooks, poverty and her heartless businessman brother Mort as she tries to raise a daughter and son in a country that has failed her.

“Life is not printed on dollar bills!”

The show is at the Axial theater in Pleasantville, New York, until November 4th. It’s twenty bucks for a seat, and you’re right there in the action. They put on a great show, as good as anything I’ve seen on or off Broadway.

Here’s a clip from the film version.