A&E

Presenting “Waiting for Lefty:” Seeking unity amidst political turmoil

I sat down for a conversation with Kathryn Notley, who plays Florrie in Eastern’s upcoming production of “Waiting for Lefty.”

Brown: Can you give me a brief summary of the plot of the show? (No spoilers!)

Notley: The show takes place in a taxi union meeting, where members are discussing what measures need to be taken for them to earn the wages they deserve. As the meeting progresses, certain members recount why they decided to join the union in the first place.

Brown: Speak a bit about the historical and political significance of this show.

Notley: The show takes place during the 1930s, so as you can imagine, the characters are desperate for a steady income. It shows how in the hardest of times unity will ignite a strength in people that they, alone, would otherwise not have. In the face of our most recent election, our cast has noted how relevant this play is to our country’s current political atmosphere. We have the working class and the elites and the gap between them that only fosters intolerance and injustice. No matter which side of the election you found yourself on, this is a time for us to come together, to work together and to find a collective voice that will press on for equality, love and freedom.

Brown: When I attend the show, what about my experience do you think will force me to think outside of what/how I typically think?

Notley: I think this show really encourages its audience members to consider the stories of those around them. The only way we can begin to mend the division that plagues the classes of our nation is if we can empathize with our neighbors. Our country needs love and peaceful collaboration. My hope is that the audience will leave the show feeling motivated to speak up about what they believe in, to defend those without a voice and to look at some of the pressing issues in our nation from all angles so that we can work together to find a solution.

Brown: How, if at all, has your involvement in this production changed or influenced your personal opinions or beliefs?

Notley: In our rehearsal after the election, our director encouraged us to let how we felt about the results fuel our performance. When watching others perform their scenes, there were a few that I felt had a new meaning to them. This show speaks to many themes woven throughout the history of our country: discrimination, poverty, betrayal, greed, yet also love, peace and unity. The relevance of this show astounds me. I don’t know if any of us could’ve predicted its significance when we first auditioned a few months back.

Brown: If you could tell the audience one thing before they experience this production, what would you choose to tell them?

Notley: I think this show gives us the hope that America is needing right now. So, when coming to the show, I’d encourage you to allow its message to resonate with experiences you have had, things you have read or stories you have heard. Allow its relevance to permeate as you watch, and you will surely find hope through the lives of the characters.

See “Waiting for Lefty” in the McInnis Auditorium on the St. Davids campus on Thursday, Nov. 17; Friday, Nov. 18; and Saturday, Nov. 19 at 8 p.m., and on Sunday, Nov. 20 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $5 with a current EU ID and $10 for general admission.

Source: Kathryn Notley

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