Waiting For Lefty

Alex Saxton Jaramillo

Clifford Odets

Theater History

Clifford Odets

Clifford Odets was a brilliant actor, director, and playwright. He is known for his famous play Waiting For Lefty. His dramatic style was known for his poetic, metaphoric street talk. He was a passionate man who loved the theater.

He was born on July 18, 1906 in Philadelphia. He was raised in Philadelphia and the Bronx in New York City. He knew his passion for theater early on in life and dropped out of high school to become an actor. In 1931 he became a member of the Group Theatre that was new to certain acting techniques in America that were based on Russian actor and director Constantine Stanislavski. Today we know this as Method Acting.  He was a huge ticket at the Group Theater and he went on to be there main playwright!

Clifford Odets had passion for all the areas in theater but he did have talent when it came to writing. His most famous play is titled Waiting For Lefty. The theme of this show is the Great Depression and is iconic to this time period. In the play it really revels the truth in how we talk and how we really feel as human beings. The play is spot on to the challenges people would go through day to day during the great depression. Clifford Odets writing is so real and conversational that is what makes the play so brilliant. As I have watch scenes unfold from this show over the years I always feel as if I am intruding on someone’s personal conversations. That is a skill that is hard to come by.

Not only was Odets a wiz in the theater world, but Hollywood picked him up as well. His early plays caught Hollywood’s eye and they wanted him. He wrote many scripts for television and film.  Some of his work included, The General Died at Dawn, and None but the Lonely Heart, which he also directed as well as wrote. He spent most of his life in Hollywood it wasn’t his intentions to stay forever but he ended up being rather happy and more than successful in California.

On July 23, 1963 Clifford Odets died of cancer in the stomach. He was only 57 years old. Before his passing he was visited in the hospital by many celebrities who cared and loved him such as Lee Strasberg, Shirley MacLaine and the famous Marlon Brando.

Clifford Odets was such an inspiration to the theater world and still is today! I have enjoyed many of his works myself and I hope to someday be in Waiting For Lefty. I have and will always continue to read his works. They will never go out of style because of the truthfulness in humanity that lye within his lines.


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