The Subversive Theatre Collective:

2002-2014: Now launching the twelfth season of our theatre revolution!
Subversive Theatre: Where pissing you off is only the beginning

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  "The Poem, the Song, the Picture, the Play is only water drawn from the well of the people and it should be given back to them in a cup of beauty so that they may drink -- and, in drinking, understand themselves." 
-- Federico Garcia Lorca
1934

January 10 - February 2, 2008 at the New Phoenix Theatre of the Park
Winner of the 2008 Artie Award for "Outstanding Production of a Play"!!!

WAITING FOR LEFTY
by Clifford Odets
produced in collaboration with the New Phoenix Theatre Company

"A paean to the working class . . . brilliantly acted and emotionally potent."
Three-and-a-Half Stars!!!
 
-- Ted Hadley, BUFFALO NEWS 1/14/08

click here to read this review

"[A] first rate production . . . captivating, provocative, and enormously engaging."
-- Anthony Chase, ARTVOICE MAGAZINE 1/31/08

click here to read this review

"A rousing adventure . . . This whole production is an Agitation on the Body Politic -- an Exaltation of the American Labor Movement." 
-- Willy Rogue Donaldson, NIGHT-LIFE MAGAZINE 1/21/08

click here to read this review

"A beautifully crafted play . . . a beautifully constructed show . . . it is great theater." 
-- Augustine Warner, ONLINE BUFFALO 1/19/08

click here to read this review

     Subversive Theatre started off 2008 with a bang teaming up with the New Phoenix Theatre Company to present Clifford Odets' pro-Union classic WAITING FOR LEFTY.  This production was an unprecedented success for our young troupe drawing massive crowds and ultimately winning the award for "Outstanding Production of a Play" at the 2008 Artie Awards!
     Written in 1934, WAITING FOR LEFTY is an incredibly empowering one-act drama about everyday workers who overcome fear, ignorance, and their own corrupt union leadership to strike for a better life.  Set amidst a New York City taxicab drivers' union meeting during the plight of the Great Depression, workers come forward to tell their personal stories of how they became involved in the union movement . . . their stories are stunning, inspiring, heart-wrenching, and unforgettable.
Click below for more info...
-- About the Author
-- About the Cast
-- About the Crew
-- About this Play's Production History
-- Publicity Photos
-- Production Photos
-- Return to the WAITING FOR LEFTY Mainpage
 
PRESS COVERAGE:
-- Buffalo News Preview: 1/11/08
-- Review: Artvoice Magazine
-- Review: Buffalo News
-- Review: Nightlife Magazine
-- Review: Online Buffalo
 
RELATED INFORMATION:
-- Historical Notes: the Labor Movement in 1935

     Directed by Subversive Theatre's Founder and Artistic Director Kurt Schneiderman*, our rendition of this working class classic was performed at the New Phoenix Theatre with a massive cast of twenty-four actors (click on the "About the Cast" heading in the right column to read complete cast biographies) bringing to life the passion of the times both on stage and amidst the audience.
     Everything was arranged to make audiences feel as though they had literally walked into a union meeting in the Great Depression.  As patrons arrived, they were accosted at the door by costumed thespians haranguing them to support the strike.  Agitators roamed the crowd distributing militant leaflets.  Hobo-types loafed in the back playing harmonicas and singing old union songs.  A gruff union functionary supplied a table crammed with coffee and donuts.
     And when this union's corrupt Secretary -- one of the play's central characters -- arrived, the hall broke into absolute bedlam as different factions shouted and jeered, chanted and clapped.  By the time the first scripted lines of the play were uttered, the atmosphere of this play's desperate and divided world had already come vividly to life.
     This three-dimensional approach never let up.  Some actors remained seated amidst the audience throughout the play frequently shouting, booing, or cheering in response to events on stage.  At choice moments action spilled over into the audience.
     For the play's climactic ending, a massive brawl broke loose involving performers at every corner of the theatre, on all sides of the audience.  The character Agate Keller (played with indefatigable passion by troupe member Bill Schmidt*) ran into the audience and jumped up on a chair to deliver the play's most revolutionary invectives as other cast members surrounded him with wild cries of support:

"Hello America!  We're storm birds of the working class!  Tear down the slaughter houses of our old lives!  Let freedom really ring!!!"

     We were honored to have the opportunity to bring this radical pro-union piece to life with the support of some real-life unions -- the Western New York Area Labor Federation and the Buffalo Teachers' Federation were both sponsors of the production.
     After one Saturday's performance we held a panel discussion with once-blacklisted labor leader and playwright Emanuel Fried, labor historian Alex Blair, and Teamster Business Agent Richard Lipsitz, Jr.  This event drew a standing-room-only crowd and gave rise to a vital discussion on the situation of unions in modern-day America.
     All of this illustrated in practice the central philosophy that Subversive Theatre has always preached -- that art can (and SHOULD) be much more than passive entertainment -- it can be an empowering event that inspires people to take on real issues that effect our everyday lives!

THE CAST
(in order of appearance)
Fatt/Fayette/Grady . Victor Morales
Gunman . . . . . . . . . . . Tom Scahill*
Joe . . . . . . . . . . Richard Lambert+
Edna . . . . . . . . . . . . Kate LoConti
Miller . . . . . . .  Hasheen DeBerry*
Irv . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . James Wild
Florrie . . . . . . . . . . . Sarah Brown
Sid . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Jeffrey Coyle
Clayton . .  Leon S. Copeland, Jr.*
Clancy . . . . . . Marshall Maxwell*
Stenographer . . . . Jennifer Linch*
Phillips . . . . . . . . . . Rich Kraemer
Dr. Barnes . . . . . . .  Keith Elkins*
Dr. Benjamin .  M. Joseph Fratello
Agate Keller . . . . . . Bill Schmidt*

UNION MEMBERS
(listed alphabetically)
Guy DeFedericis, Kevin Dennis, 
Tom Izard, Stacy Kowal, 
Joseph Laspro, Robb C. Nesbitt*,
 Julie Oesch*, Jessica Stuber*, 
Anthony Tyrpak*

THE CREW
Director . . . . . .  Kurt Schneiderman*
Stage Manager . . .  Virginia Brannon*
Light Design .  Carlie Todoro-Rickus*
Set Designer . . . . .  Dyan O'Connell*
Costume Designer . . . . . Kate Palame
Dance Choreographer .  Jeffrey Coyle
Graphic Designer . Michael D. Klemm
Fight Choreogrph . M Joseph Fratello
Props Mistress . . . Virginia Brannon*
House Mngr  Jeanette Schneiderman*
House Manager . . .  Michael Fanelli*

     Our production of WAITING FOR LEFTY was sponsored by the Western New York Area Labor Federation, Frank J. Dolce, Esq., and the Buffalo Teachers Federation.  Special thanks for support for this production also goes out to Dr. Emanuel Fried, Andrea Kwiatkowski, Patricia DeVinney, the El Buen Amigo Latin American Cultural Association, the Buffalo Federal Credit Union, Generations Antiques & Collectibles, Tops Friendly Markets, Inc., and Allentown Music.

* = indicates members of the Subversive Theatre Collective
+ = indicates members of the Actors' Equity Association

Copyright (c) 2002-13, Subversive Theatre Collective.  All rights reserved.