Let's Go Back in Time
Sweat jumps back and forth between the years 2000 and 2008.
Were you around to remember how crazy a time that was?? Y2K, anyone?
Both years were also marked by widespread job loss and factory closures, which put a lot of people in Reading, PA out of work and below the poverty line.
Watch these videos to familiarize yourself with the major headlines of these eventful years.
Music of the Moment
It’s undeniable that popular music provides a powerful soundtrack to any moment in history, and studies have shown that music is closely tied to memory.
Much of the music created during the time of this play (2000 & 2008) is still considered iconic. Does "Oops! I Did It Again" ring a bell??
While Sweat takes place not that long ago, the way we consume music has changed rapidly since the period in which the play takes place. Don't be afraid to play these songs while you peruse the site!
More Compact Discs were sold in 2000 than any other year. Then Apple launched iTunes in 2001, forever changing the game. Spotify launched in 2006, yet again shaking up the industry.
If Lynn Nottage were to write a play about your class, what songs would your 2013 and 2021
playlist contain? Make a list and choose the top 10 for each.
If you were to create a video documenting 2021, which events would it contain? Make a list and choose the top 10 events.
Location, Location, Location
The characters in Sweat were inspired by Lynn Nottage’s interviews with families from Reading, Pennsylvania. It was important to Nottage that their stories be heard - she wanted the people of Reading to feel seen and understood and wanted to add to the cultural richness of the city.
Classroom Activity: See, Think, Wonder
Objective: Students gain a deeper understanding of the play's settings while learning to evaluate a work of art or image on a deeper level.
Pick a dynamic slide from the picture carousel above. Have students explore each image in depth using this See, Think, Wonder exercise. What does Reading seem to have in common with your community?
The Third Place
Most of Sweat takes place inside a bar, which acts as an important place for the community to gather and socialize. But why?
People tend to occupy three distinct places:
Work or School
A Social Place. This could be a church, park, baseball diamond, or bar. Ultimately, it’s your choice.
More than just a space to unwind, these places are essential to any community. They allow a level of comfort that the other two spaces can’t. Now that the internet is infused into our lives, we even see third places popping up on social media and in video games.
Classroom Activity: Shark Place!
Overview: Students create a pitch to build a third place that's rooted in the community in which they live - using the popular TV show Shark Tank as the format.
Ask students to brainstorm for 2 minutes, making a list of qualities that an ideal third space would have for their community. Is it open 24 hours? Is it an indoor or outdoor space? Are adults and kids together, or separated? What stimuli does it offer?
Students must then create a “Shark Tank” style pitch for the class.
Enlist a panel of judges (Sharks).
Students should create visual elements for their pitch such as a floorplan, logo, or slogan.
Encourage students to utilize improv skills by having the panel ask questions that promote specific and analytical thinking.
Have your Sharks deliberate and announce a winner!