Waiting for Lefty
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Waiting for Lefty

3.26 of 5 stars 3.26  ·  rating details  ·  232 ratings  ·  10 reviews
One of the most celebrated and significant plays of the modern American theatre, WAITING FOR LEFTY by Clifford Odets is set in the Depression era and deals with the exploitation of the working classes. First presented by the famous Group Theatre, the play has become a symbol of its times and a beacon for many soon-to-be famous playwrights. The action of the play is compris...more
Hardcover, 31 pages
Published June 28th 1975 by Richard West (first published 1935)
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Jan 08, 2013 Phil rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: drama
This was an ok play, but not really my cup of tea. This is a Depression-era worker's activist play, inciting the workers to strike for better conditions and so on. The problem I have with a lot of political texts is that they frequently sacrifice art for direct political commentary, which doesn't appeal to my aesthetic (Native Son, for instance), and I think this play falls almost into staged political speech.

The play itself is an interesting piece of political drama, however, because of the str...more
Apr 13, 2010 Tony rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: drama
Odets, Clifford. WAITING FOR LEFTY. (1935). ****. This is probably one of the best known plays by Odets, one that neatly summarizes his belief in the sanctity of workers and their right to fair employment. Written as it was in the midst of the Depression, it had an obvious audience and an obvious response. The action takes place at a workers’ meeting in a hall where the plight of the men present is outlined by both the men themselves and several of the speakers. The actual meeting, however, was...more
Waiting for Lefty was enjoyable, albeit kind of laughable because of some of the dialogue. I found some of the passages particularly relevant to current affairs which the United States is involved in, especially the war. “‘They’ll teach Sam to point the guns the wrong way, that dumb basket ball player!’” Sid says to Florence, and it seems to sum up beautifully the ways in which many systems of oppression divide populations which have extremely common needs and interests, forcing them to fight ag...more
Oct 13, 2010 Maria rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: plays
I like the structure of this play best of any of its elements. It was easy to visualize and would be a snap to stage. At 25 pages, it really moves too which is nice. It's about unions which I think is still relevant although I think the issues are more grey now than they are in this time period. I don't think I would really want to watch this play unless it was modernized and re-contextualized but I think the author achieves what he set out to do so it is a success on those grounds.
This Great Depression-era play about labor organizing has been called little more than communist propaganda (and not only by the House of Un-American Activities Committee), and the assessment is, frankly, not entirely false. Odets clearly has an agenda, one that emerges in this short play at the expense of characterization or plot. But there's something charming about the unfettered political motivations on display here.
I was in the third grade, when I first came across this one. My mother was playing Agate Keller, and at the time, other than the fact it was set in The Great Depression, I had no idea, what it meant. As an adult, now I do. I would go on record to say, that it's possible one of the most in depth looks at human nature during the depression, and especially now, it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to go back and read it.
Short and sweet. Such potent pleas without much backstory to these men and women. Such great one-off scenes. The play continues to live on in my mind while I hope the workers get what they need...

Loved the scene between husband and wife, and the scene between young woman and her love. Heartache.
Nov 05, 2007 Lydia rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: plays
Much like communism itself, this play is a good idea, probably interesting to watch unfold, but boring as hell on paper. A good production could be riveting. A bad production would be deadly.
I think this is one of the plays we read in high school.
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