The Glendale College Auditorium Mainstage Theatre opened its doors on Oct. 26 for Clifford Odets fans with the opening night of a dramatically charged play entitled “Waiting for Lefty.”
The show revolved around a group of taxi drivers who decided to go on strike during in the 1930s. However, the cognitive meaning of the story was to inflict a debate towards the audience about the pros and cons of capitalism.
“Students didn’t want to do it, [but] the characters are just trying to survive [off of] something we’ve taken for granted,” said Randel. “It’s hard to get [the] characters to commit to survival needs, [but] the students have really risen [up] to the material.”
Director Melissa Randel successfully captured the ruthless lifestyle of Great Depression with sepia lighting and costume designs that highlighted aged photos that depict that historical era. The stage projected a sense of both theoretical and physical meaning of social class by placing upper class members on a higher platform with the working class beneath them.
She also added a touch of Hollywood glitz to the play by including famous dancing duo, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, at the top of the stage as a contrast against the marathon dancers below who were usually people suffering from poverty. They would compete in endless “marathon” dances until the last one standing could claim the prize in the end.
Even though the most of the lines in the play are intense, Randel jokingly said that Odet would have been happy with the students’ performances, but he may not be happen with what she did with his material.
“Waiting for Lefty” will be showing in the Auditorium Mainstage Theatre until Nov. 12, but there will be a special play performance Nov. 9 with Randel Theatre Faculty Coordinator Jeanette Farr to discuss and answer questions about Odets on the play’s themes and motifs.