Meramec Theater Department premieres new production
By: DAREN HEMBRADOR
The play is an adaption of the novel by Joan Holden, which explores the average person surviving by working low-income and minimum wage jobs.
The plot of Nickel & Dimed revolves around Barbara Ehrenreich, an undercover writer. She scatters between working as a hotel maid to a waitress, struggling to make ends meet with rent and bills. Throughout the rugged journey, Barbara befriends co-workers that become indelible portraits of low-income society. Gail — a star waitress approaching 50 — attempts to outrun her struggles. Carlie — a hotel maid with a reputable temper — disgusts those around her. Pete — a nursing home cook who retreats to his own fantasies. And Holly — the Team Leader of Magic Maids — whose pregnancy leaves her panicking about job security. Barbara’s journey tackles the United State’s social issues on poverty, worker rights and homelessness.
The director, Michelle Rebollo, describes the show as a “docu-drama” based on Ehrenreich research and the struggle of the American lower class. The play questions whether “a person can survive only working minimum wage jobs,” Rebollo said.
Donna Werner, the lead actress who portrays Barbara Ehrenreich, comments on how the play reflects American society’s views on low-income jobs. “These are people that keep the world running and we don’t see them,” Werner said. “We get busy and take them for granted. The play reminds us to see them and treat them with respect. All work is honorable work.”
The play creates a self-reflection on the audience’s view of low-wage and intense labor jobs.
With the subject of homelessness and poverty, STLCC-Meramec theater program will also host a canned food drive for Operation Hunger and the STLCC-Meramec Brown Bag Café during the play’s performance. Both charity organizations help bring awareness to the struggles of low-income workers and reach out toward impoverished Americans.