|Awake and Sing|
1939 - 1949
The play was performed in the Elizabeth Peabody Playhouse
"Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust." (Isaiah 26:19)
Writer: Cliff Odet
Myron Berger: the father of the family
The play is set in The Bronx in 1933; it concerns the impoverished Berger family and their conflicts as the parents scheme to manipulate their children's relationships to their own ends, while their children strive for their own dreams.
Act II A year later Ralph and Hennie are more depressed than ever. When Bessie learns that Hennie tells her husband about the real father of her baby and Ralph blames her for his sister's unhappyness, she smashes her father's records in a moment of despair. Now old Jacob, her father, commits suicide, but not before giving Ralph a chance in life: He shall be his hair to have a chance in life.
Act III: Ralph remembers his grandfather's exhortations to "do" and to "act", to "Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust.", and Hennie is persuaded to desert her family and elope with Moe Axelrod. Ralph makes his decision: "My days won't be for nothing, let Mom have the dough. I'm twenty-two and kicking, I'll get along. Did Jake die for us to fight about nickles?" Determined to give up his selfish love and become a radical agitator for a new society, Ralph feels reborn: "I'm one week old! I want the whole city to hear it, fresh blood, arms. We got'em. We're glad we're living."
S.: "Interviews - American Archive of Television"
Now, you said earlier when you were 17,would you like to talk about that?
Checkov play and something else, a J.B. Preesly play. Then someone said he's casting a play called Awake and Sing and he's looking for somebody like you they said, a teenager, to play the role of the son of the family. So, I went met him, did some reading with him, got the role and became inflamed with the idea of becoming an actor. This was my first time doing an adult play. All the stuff I had done previously was children's theatre. I got very, very turned on to the idea of doing this kind of work for the rest of my life.