Video: The art of making a steel-town bar look down and dirty

 Building a bar with mud, Sweat … and just the right local beer signs

Check out our interview with Robin Payne, the DCPA Theatre Company’s Properties Director, about the challenge of dressing the play Sweat with signs that are most appropriate for the story’s steel-town Pennsylvania bar setting.  That means local beers like Rolling Rock and sports teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers. “We tried to incorporate the Pennsylvania flair into the set,” says Payne, who also talks about the art of distressing the bar to look like it’s old and in disrepair. And she has a great story of how she found some of the bar’s seating in a muddy Brighton field.

Sweat is about the people of Reading, for whom work is so much more than a paycheck – it’s the glue that holds the town together. The floor of their central factory is where lifelong friendships are made, where love blossoms and where family members work side-by-side. But as layoffs become the new norm and a cheaper workforce threatens the viability of the local union, the threads that once kept the community together begin to fray. And such is life – things tend to fall apart at the local bar. Sweat, by Lynn Nottage, won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Using humor and empathy, Nottage paints a moving portrait of today’s working-class America in decline.

The Denver Center staging is directed by Rose Riordan and features Cycerli Ash, Jordan Bellow, Derek Jack Chariton, Tara Falk, Sam Gregory, Leslie Kalarchian, Gustavo Márquez, Timothy D. Stickney and William Oliver Watkins. Performances run through May 26 in the Space Theatre at the Denver Performing Arts Complex.

Video by John Moore and David Lenk for the DCPA NewsCenter.

Watch Episode 2 of Standing Equation: Fun with pentagons in building Sweat

SweatSweat: Ticket information

  • Written by: Lynn Nottage
  • Director: Rose Riordan
  • Dates: Through May 26
  • Where: Space Theatre
  • Genre: Working-class drama
  • Tickets: Start at $30 and can be purchased at 303-893-4100 or in person in the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex at 14th and Curtis streets or online by clicking here:

More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

Photo gallery: The making of Sweat

Go to our complete gallery of Sweat photos