By Nicole Law |
September 23, 2019
BFA Design and Technology student, Andres Ugarte, celebrates the completion of the set he designed for Sweat.

Andres Ugarte, until two years ago, wasn’t a theatre kid at all. Transferring from Graphic Design into the BFA Design and Technology program, Ugarte found his calling in the School of Performing Arts. Now, his first set design will be on display for Theatre UCF’s production of Sweat by Lynn Nottage.

Sweat is a Pulitzer Prize-winning play depicting the relationships among a group of factory workers as they face deindustrialization and economic crisis. “It deals with the issues that a lot of lower middle-class and working-class people in America have dealt with for a long time,” Ugarte says. The action takes place in a dive bar in Reading, Pennsylvania. Ugarte’s design for the bar aims to paint a picture of life in Reading. “The set I created is a mix of a literal bar and elements of the factory life that surrounds the characters.” Steel beams, dirty factory windows, an American flag and framed pictures of union workers on strike tell the story of residents in the town beyond the more realistic bar set. Like the play itself, the design forces viewers out of their comfort zones by contrasting normal bar elements with evidence of the trials in the lives of factory workers.

Ugarte drew inspiration for his design from many of these harsh realities. The financial conditions that lead to the 2008 crash and the erosion of unions and workers’ rights are reflected in the run-down nature of the bar as well as the union memorabilia on the walls. Ugarte turned to Yelp reviews of local bars in Reading which influenced everything from the color of the walls to the furniture. And cruelly ironic details such as a Coors Light sign (Coors’ founder having been a union buster) display the ever-present threat to unions. “This is a pro-union bar but at the same time shows the struggles of unions in America.”

Andres Ugarte, Set Designer for Sweat, hangs photographs on the wall of the set.

With this being Ugarte’s first fully-realized set, Theatre UCF’s design and technology faculty members guided him through the process. Ugarte specifically credits Bert Scott, Vandy Wood and Tim Brown as mentors, teaching him the collaborative nature of creating theatre. “I learned how to make the best show possible by making sure everyone is on the same page and able to do the best they can.”

Sweat also showed Ugarte the power of relationships, the importance of unions and the consequences to everyone if the rights of unions are stripped away. “Nearly everything in the play is relevant. It’s very visceral and it feels real. As an audience member, you will feel like you’re living this.”

By Lynn Nottage
Directed by Cynthia White

September 26-October 6
Black Box Theatre

Layoffs and picket lines pit co-workers against each other as they fight to make ends meet.

Winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize, and 3-time Tony Award-nominee, Sweat is filled with warm humor and tremendous heart. After having spent their lives sharing drinks, secrets and laughs, a group of co-workers are faced with hard choices when trouble arises with their factory jobs. Fear of unemployment erodes their trust and the friends find themselves pitted against each other in a heart-wrenching fight to stay afloat.

Many performances currently sold out. Please see our waitlist policy below.

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday matinee performances at 2 p.m.
$20 standard, $10 UCF ID
Black Box, 4000 Central Florida Blvd., Orlando

Theatre UCF opens the waitlist for sold out performances one hour prior to show time. To be added to the waitlist, the patron (and their entire party) must be present at the theatre building box office (Theatre building 6, next to the Chemistry and Business Administration buildings). If tickets become available, we will release them to patrons in the order that they signed up on the waitlist. If a name from the list is called and they are not present, we will move on to the next patron on the list, and the person who was not present will be moved to the bottom of the list. There are no guarantees that we will be able to accommodate anyone from the waitlist.