Nickel and Dimed worth every penny

Barbara Ehrenreich, played by junior Becky Quinones, has a comfortable home, a comfortable boyfriend (played by ‘10 alum Dan Ison) and a comfortable job as a journalist.


The one thing she wants to do is give it all up and experience life among America’s lower class, minimum wage workers in order to find out how they get by on such a low income.


Her editor Stuart, played by sophomore Timothy Ashdown, isn’t too thrilled about her scheme, but he allows her to do it anyway.


So in the name of journalism, Ehrenreich throws herself into the world of restaurant workers, cleaning ladies and “Mal-Mart” employees. She quickly learns that the millions of Americans working these positions are treated unfairly to the point of dehumanization.


The more time Ehrenreich spends with her coworkers, the more urgent her message becomes, and the more willing she is to put her real job on the line to shed light on the often ignored and stereotyped minimum wage employees of America.


The latest Eastern Theatre production nicely balances humor with a serious message. The characters have their own quirks, making them memorable even if they only appear onstage for a few minutes. The actors know their characters, and the characters know themselves.


The use of the stage is very creative and even involves the entire auditorium at certain points. Although music plays an integral role in setting the tone of some of the scenes, at times it is louder than the actors’ voices, making it difficult to hear what the characters are saying to each other.


There are moments when the play gets very theatrical with scenes depicting magical illusions and dancing in Halloween costumes, but they aren’t too abstract to understand in the context of the whole play.


In short, every bit of the production works, and it all pieces together to create an amusing, thought provoking show.


Photos provided by Bryon Calawa

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