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Sweat: Dramaturg's Guide

Meghan Landon & Kyle Krisch

for UIUC's Sweat, directed by Latrelle Bright

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Lynn Nottage

About the Playwright

Lynn Nottage (Playwright)

Two-time Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Lynn Nottage was born in Brooklyn, New York, 1964. Nottage’s inspiration ranges from a variety of sources, some being from the lives of the women that raised her, like her grandmother’s story told in Intimate Apparel. Other inspiration came from her in-depth research. For instance, her rabbit-hole journey into the life of Queen Marie-Therese and her African servant and lover Nabo in Las Meninas. Nottage uniquely places all her plays within some sort of other-worldly position. It can be seen in the merging of tropical rainforest and urban apartment like in por'knockers or the evaporation of an abusive husband in poof! In Sweat, climate mimics the raised tensions of the bar flys and settles itself within the urban legend of small town history.She graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in 1986 and an M.F.A in playwriting from Yale School of Drama three years later. In the 1990s, Lynn Nottage spent four years as a national press officer with Amnesty International before becoming a full-time playwright. In 1996, Nottage’s first full-length play, Crumbs from the Table of Joy, was produced at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, IL.  Nottage has written numerous works as well as working as a producer, primarily with Market Road Films, a production company she co-founded with Emmy award-winning director, Tony Gerber. After her research and interviews that helped to build the script now known as Sweat, Nottage worked to create This is Reading. Acting as a love letter to the setting of Sweat, This is Reading is a multimedia installation/celebration of the history and culture of the small Pennsylvanian town that our script calls home. Recently, Lynn Nottage had three productions of her work on Broadway, including Clyde’s, MJ: The Musical, and an operatic adaptation of her play Intimate Apparel. Nottage won the Pulitzer Prize in drama in 2009 for Ruined, as well as 2017 for Sweat. Lynn Nottage currently resides in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter. 

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