Hey! It's me, and I'm back to do that thing I said I was going to do.
Sweat - I ended up enjoying Ruined when I read it, but this one resonated more. Perhaps because we are still 'in it' when it comes to looking at how we got to Trump, though I'm wondering if that's more me inserting how it was pitched to me when it won the Pulitzer a few years back. The way it cuts between characters was cool, and, though it didn't immediately register to me (one, I was just getting back in to reading regularly, and also I'm sure it would have been plenty apparent seeing it staged), the way it contains the action to mostly one central location makes a lot of sense when looking at this community as a microcosm for communities as a whole and America at large. Haven't spent a ton of time in the rust belt, and likely got similar things from aspects of the game Night In The Woods, but I could recognize the authenticity from what little time I have spent there. Super impressed by the end.
Cost Of Living - The Pulitzer winner from two years ago, I was pretty hesitant to read this because, given the description and title, I figured that I 'got it' before even opening the book, but boy was FLY wrong. Some cool aspects in the stage directions, adjusting minor parts for the part of the world from which certain characters have their roots, and great to see a play willingly casting people with disabilities, but also insightful in how it explores different strata of society without sacrificing the emotional aspects of being human. Does have an NJ! NJ! NJ! feel, deliberately so, with a big focus on north/central(this probably exists, but I get why it's debatable) Jersey feel in most of the language. Not on board with how all of it's written, but they get a bunch of aspects right. Not surprising, given the location/title of the playwright's previous one, which I haven't read, but sounds super compelling as well. However, it would certainly make me cry earlier than this one did for some of the same reasons, but probably other ones that have to do with the text itself. This thing takes a turn that reframes things in a way that left me pretty floored. Again, would be cool to see staged, but well worth a read if anyone gets the chance as it works mostly on the page as well.
Dance Nation - One of the runner ups for the Pulitzer this year, apparently this sucker has been staged/kicking around since some time in 2017. I don't know what the qualification rules are, and the comparison would be easy to make with The Wolves (as I have seen done), because it's about a group of girls one the cusp of adolescence engaging in a communal sport, but, of the three I'm writing about proper, this would be the one I'm most interested in seeing staged. Unlike Wolves, there's a lot more going on with the way actors are cast, it makes a note that actors should be roughly ages 12-65 or something like that because we should be seeing these characters as girls, but also the actors as shadows of the women they will become. Plus there are some stage notes that seem almost impossible to pull off in a theatrical setting. Might have been my least favorite of the three, but still very good, especially in the moments where it monologues, and reading it the final page or two looked so fun and amazing on paper!
And, finally, I won't be writing about this in full, but I do hope I'll have a chance to see The Wolves staged at some point. That play is likely one of the best I've read in recent memory, and would have picked it for the award over Sweat that year. If you have a library, order it, check it out, whatever. Super quick read, the whole thing is supposed to be staged at a hard 90 minutes to mirror a soccer match, and just the best.
Got What The Constitution Means To Me, the other Pulitzer runner up, presumably coming to me at some point this month.