Thursday, March 15, 2012

Waiting For Lefty

Waiting for Lefty focuses on the terrible working conditions and wages given to American workers during the 30s and the Great Depression. In particular, the drama focuses on taxi drivers and their desire to strike, and various individual stories and plotlines. If the play were to be revised to be applicable to a current day situation/issue, the Occupy Wall Street movement would be a great fit.
Occupy Wall Street is fighting back against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations. The movement is inspired by popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, and aims to fight back against the richest 1% of people that are writing the rules of an unfair global economy that is foreclosing on our future. There have been protests worldwide since the movement began on September 17, 2011. Here is a link to a great video describing the movement.

The audience that the play would be targeting would be the 99% of the entire population that is not the rich 1%. This is similar to Waiting for Lefty in that the drama is trying to influence people worldwide to stand up and strike against their poor working conditions. Odet's drama is clearly inspired by communists like Karl Marx and his "Communist Manifesto". Because of this "red" affiliation and the riots that the play caused after some performances, the drama was banned in many places. If theatre was still the main means of entertainment for the masses, and a drama with Occupy Wall Street's motives shown to the audience, as well as calling upon them to stand up and do something, it is possible that the play could be banned. There could very well be riots in the streets, and innocent wealthy Americans being harrassed, beaten, or killed. Although this is extreme, it could very well happen because the movement's motives are very inspiring and appealing to the masses.

Some of the characters' roles would remain in the new play, and some would have to be changed and added. I believe the scene between Miller and Fayette would involve not a rich man like Fayette trying to bribe Miller to spy on a scientist, but rather be a scene where a rich wall street banker would be trying to bribe a politician into making favorable laws for the banker. If he didn't, the banker, who is the politician's biggest campaign donor, would not give him any money. One of the main focuses of the OWS movement is how the rich can dictate politics and global affairs because they are the largest campaign donors. The setting of the play should definitely be in New York City and/or Washington DC, as the main targets of the OWS movement are Wall Street Financiers and politicians. There would be a large crowd gathered to protest outside of the headquarters of Goldman Sacs.

The scene between Joe and Edna would reflect the relationship between a dedicated Occupy Wall Street protester and his wife. His family is starting to get their possessions claimed, and are finding it hard to make ends meet. The wife is threatening to take the kids and leave him if he doesn't find a way to start getting more income. She is threatening to leave him for an ex boyfriend who is a successful banker on Wall Street, the very enemy that Joe is trying to fight. In the end, Joe gets the movement to compensate him for all his time and hard work. Another scene that would be good would reflect the risky, ignorant moves that Wall Street made to create the greatest financial recession since the Great Depression. This would show a banker knowingly bundling bad mortgages together, and obtaining a good rating for them, and selling them to investors.

The play would end with an intense rally outside of the White House or on Wall Street with a catchy slogan being repeatedly chanted. This would incite the audience to take action and finally accomplish the motives of the movement. Occupy Wall Street would be a perfect fit for an updated version of Odet's Waiting for Lefty.

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