Nickel and Dimed’ builds awareness

By Sable Stevens

An ensemble of nine students, eight females and one male, put on
a sold out show Feb. 11, 12 and 13, and gave new life to the true
story of a woman fed up with the mystery of the lower class

“Nickel and Dimed” is an adaptation of the book by author
Barbara Ehrenreich. It tells her story of going undercover as an
unskilled worker making $6 to $7 an hour to get a real sense of the
hardship women face trying to survive on low pay.

The nine players in the cast often played different characters
and genders, having to change roles and wardrobe as many as three

“I play a teenager, an angry customer, an Alzheimer’s patient
and a timid man [who is] shopping at ‘Mall mart’,” said Danielle
Gonzales, a third-year theater student. “I’ve never been in a play
where I played several small roles at once. It was a lot of fun to
play around and have fun.”

The set was simple in structure, with a few changes of tables,
chairs and boxes, but it was the permanent backdrop that was
powerful in meaning. Layers of cardboard created the backdrop of
the stage, covered in quotes from the script.

“I think it was sort of a constant reminder [with] the issues
right in front of you the whole time but it wasn’t distracting. The
message was clear,” said Daniella Tarankow, a fifth-year zoology

The production was directed by Charles Kealey, a fourth-year
theater student. It was his first full-length production.

“I’ve been pleased with it,” Kealey said. “I’m very proud of the
actors and the designers I got to work with.”

Kealey worked with the designers to bring his ideas and creative
thought to the process.

“I gave the designers the concept that things are not always as
they appear to be,” said Kealey. “Our set designer decided to make
[the set] look on the surface like it was cardboard signs written
by homeless people you see on the side of the road.”

One member of the cast was pleased with the direction of the

“I was directed by Charles last spring for the student written
one acts,” said Gonzales. “To be such a young director who is still
learning himself, he definitely has some point of view for being a

As a theater student, Kealey is still training and learning from
his fellow students and actors as much as they are learning from
him, said Gonzales.

The cast accomplished the costume and role changes without
complaint or confusion from a single audience member.

“I guess if anything, what I took away from it was an
appreciation for the characters,” said Tarankow. “What stuck with
me the most was how the actors really rose to the occasion in
portraying so many different roles.”

Reach Sable Stevens at:

Nickel and Dimed

Daniel Nguyen/Poly Post

Nickel and Dimed’ builds awareness

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