by Clifford Odets
with NAATCO (National Asian American Theatre Company)
at Walkerspace
August 16 - September 8, 2013
Scenic Design by Anshuman Bhatia
Costumes by Moria Sine Clinton
Lighting by Gina Scherr
Sound by Toby Algya
Photography by Peter Kim

5.19.14 - Mia Katigbak wins a 2014 Village Voice OBIE Award for her performance in AWAKE AND SING! 

"Odets's 'Awake and Sing!' Family Is Alive in TriBeCa" - The New York Times

Sometimes you walk into a thimble-size theater where the stage is just the floor, flanked by 50 or so chairs, and you think, Lord, this is going to be way too cozy.

Sometimes you are wrong.

Stephen Fried’s staging of “Awake and Sing!” at Walkerspace achieves a delicate balance, making audience members feel as if they were in the same rooms as the characters, invisible and at ease. But the real point of the National Asian American Theater Company production of this 1935 Clifford Odets play, about a lower-middle-class Jewish family in the Depression-era Bronx, is a statement about ethnicity, which it makes eloquently... The production easily makes the point that ethnicity is transcended by the humanity of frightened, imperfect people facing unpleasant realities. In “Awake and Sing!” those troubles include loveless marriage, untimely pregnancy, suicide, doomed romance and intimate betrayal...
Yes, Odets was a creature of his time. His view of gender roles is unevolved. His epithet-dotted language — demeaning African-Americans, Italians and the Japanese, among others — is shocking now. But theatergoers deserve to hear great plays as they were originally performed, especially in low-budget productions like this. Odets’s genius is how vibrant his message remains.
— Anita Gates, The New York Times
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There’s still great, fresh heart in Clifford Odets’s Awake & Sing!, just as there’s still heart inside every sap or dreamer itching for something grander than dollar-mad American normalcy. It’s especially fresh in the new revival from National Asian American Theatre Company at Walkerspace, directed with precise raucousness by Stephen Fried.
— Alan Scherstuhl, The Village Voice
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Director Stephen Fried’s fine-tuned production maintains a riveting naturalism. Whether the characters are the central focus, or off to the side just listening, there are no false moves here.
— Roma Torre, NY1
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It’s moving, and it still feels relevant. In the National Asian American Theatre Company’s lively revival—also starring Sanjit De Silva, Andrew Ramcharan Guilarte, and Alok Tewari—the intimacy of the theatre makes audience members feel as though they were part of the claustrophobic family... Under the direction of Stephen Fried, the performances are strong.
— The New Yorker
Heart is what Odets has always offered in greater abundance than the other canonized titans—that impulse to better the lives of anyone who sees the plays, even at the expense of some niceties of psychology or storytelling. In this production, the inner lives of Odets’s people compel as much as their out-loud declarations of self, done in the playwright’s spit-polished, bell-ringing, streets-meet-the-good-book vernacular.
— Alan Scherstuhl, The Village Voice
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The all-Asian cast gives splendid performances as the Jewish clan, a conceit that lends additional insight into the general themes of poverty, class, and pride, resulting in a more universal scope... Directed by Shakespearean Stephen Fried, the play benefits strongly from the intense eye contact the characters make with one another, something that gets lost on larger stages but is powerful and dramatic here. The Bergers might not find that the streets of America are paved with gold, but this production of Awake and Sing! is very rich indeed.
— This Week in New York