Waiting for Lefty

Waiting For Lefty

Waiting for Lefty

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Waiting for Lefty is a 1935 play by American playwright Clifford Odets. Consisting of a series of related vignette, the entire play is framed by the meeting of cab drivers who are planning a labor strike. The framing situation utilizes the audience as part of the meeting.

While this was not the first play written by Odets, this was the first of his plays to be produced. It was staged by the Group Theatre, a New York theatre company founded by Harold Clurman, Cheryl Crawford and Lee Strasberg, of which Odets was a member. The company was founded as a training ground for actors, and also to support new plays, especially those that mirrored the social and political climate of the day. Waiting for Lefty was the first real critical and popular success for the Group Theatre, appearing on Broadway as well as in cities around the United States. It had its British premiere at Unity Theatre, London in 1938, whose production so impressed a contingent of the American Group Theatre when they visited, that Unity Theatre was given the British rights to the play.


The play is composed of seven different vignettes separated by blackouts. As the play opens, several taxi drivers sit in a semicircle. To one side stands a gunman. A large man and union leader, Harry Fatt, tells the men that a strike is not a good idea. When a man in the crowd mocks this idea, Fatt calls him a "red" (slang for communist), says he is keeping an eye out for them in the union, and claims that the reds,...
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