The cast of Clyde’s
Photo by Helen Murray
071 – Clyde’s, by Lynn Nottage
Lynn Nottage’s play Clyde’s is set in a truck-stop diner on the outskirts of Reading, Pennsylvania. This is no ordinary diner though, because the short-order cooks that make the sandwiches that the diner is famous for are all ex-cons. But the eponymous proprietor, Clyde, has not offered these ex-cons a second chance out of the softness of her heart. Despite her stern style, the characters who wash up here in Clyde’s discover some unexpected hope for their futures in their communal sufferings and support.
Lynn Nottage is very well known in America, having won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama twice: in 2009 for her play Ruined, and in 2017 for Sweat. Clyde’s was first produced on Broadway in November 2021, and according to American Theatre magazine it was the most-produced play in non-profit theatres in America in 2022–2023.
As we record this episode a new production of Clyde’s is on stage at the Donmar Warehouse theatre in London, directed by Lynette Linton, who also directed Sweat at the same theatre back in 2018. The stories and characters of both this play and Sweat are based on extensive research Nottage carried out with local people, and the plays certainly have the stamp of lived reality.
I’m delighted to be joined by the director Lynette Linton who, having directed both of these great plays, is the perfect guest to talk us through Clyde’s.
Lynette Linton is the Artistic Director of the Bush theatre in London, where she has been leading a ground-breaking program of new work that champions all types of diverse voices. We’ve been lucky enough to cover two of their acclaimed recent productions on the podcast, Tyrell Williams’s Red Pitch and Margaret Perry’s Paradise Now!
Lynette was previously Resident Assistant Director at the Donmar, where in 2018 she directed the UK premiere of Sweat, for which she won the Best Director award at the Black British Theatre Awards. Before that she was Associate Director at the Gate theatre. Her long list of directing credits includes Blues for an Alabama Sky at the National Theatre, for which she won Evening Standard and Critics Circle Awards for Best Director, as well as Richard II at the Globe theatre, which was distinguished for being the first ever company of women of colour on a major UK stage. She has directed or assisted on shows at the Bush, the Donmar, the Gate, the Theatre Royal Stratford East, the Royal Court and the West End.
Lynette recommended two plays that are returning to the stage at the Bush theatre in early 2024:
Shifters by Benedict Lombe, and,
The Cord by Bijan Sheiban.
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Photo by Johan Persson
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