Clifford Odets' play Awake & Sing, directed by Elina de Santos, assisted by Tovya Jacobs and Tracey Silver, is now being performed at the Odyssey Theatre, immerses the audience in a depression-era, three-generational, dysfunctional Bergers - a Brooklyn family struggling for survival as they fight over passions, hopes, love relationships, future, and money problems.
"Here without a dollar you don't look the world in the eye. Talk from now until next year - this is life in America," says family matriarch Bessie Berger (Marilyn Fox.)
Humor often comes from pathos and Awake & Sing is no exception as moments sprinkle among the scenes of family crisis.
The family, consisting of Ralph Berger (James Morosini), Myron (Robert Lesser), Hennie (Melissa Paladino), Jacob (Alan Miller), Bessie (Marilyn Fox), Schlosser (Dennis Madden), Moe Axelrod (David Agranov), Uncle Morty (Richard Fancy), Sam Feinschriber (Gary Patent) and Melissa Weber Bales (as Bessie alternate) give excellent performances as people in crisis.
Even 80 years after its 1935 premiere, and the play still rings true to human nature. Lead actress, Marilyn Fox, returns for the 20th anniversary revival of the performance at the Odyssey.
The play, itself, was slow to start and somewhat long, but the acting ability, especially of Ms. Fox, overcame many of the mundane objections. The final scenes brought the feeling of hope in the future, despite the obstacles.
Odets, himself, was born to Jewish immigrant parents in 1906. Awake & Sing was his first full length play.
Produced by Beth Hogan & Ron Sossi, in association with Marjie Mautner, the play runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 2 pm until November 29, 2015. There will also be several mid-week performances on Wednesday and Thursday so check the web site. On the third Friday of every month, the Odyssey has wine and snacks as the audience mingles with the cast.
Set design is by Pete Hickok, lighting by Leigh Allen, sound by Christopher Moscatiello, costume by Kim DeShazo, and props are by Katherine S. Hunt.
Parking is available for $4 by the Odyssey theatre, which is located at 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd. Tickets are $15-34 (reserved seating) and can be had by calling 310 477 2055. (There are discounts for seniors and students.)