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MURRAY, Ky. — The Murray State University Department of Global Languages and Theatre Arts presents “Nickel and Dimed” by Joan Holden from Feb. 19-22 at 7:30 p.m. in the Wilson Studio Theatre. The play is based on the book “Nickel and Dimed, On (Not) Getting By in America” by Barbara Ehrenreich.
Joan Holden’s stage adaptation is a focused comic epic shadowed with tragedy that tells a story of trying to live as a low wage earner in America. Barbara is prepared for hard work but not for double shifts and nonstop aches and pains, having to share tiny rooms, living on fast food because she has no place to cook, begging from food pantries and for failing, after all that, to make ends meet.
The worst, she learns, is not what happens to the back or the knees: it’s the damage to the heart. The bright glimpses of Barbara’s co-workers that enliven the book become indelible portraits: Gail, the star waitress who can no longer outrun her troubles, Carlie, the hotel maid whose rage has burned down to disgust, Pete, the nursing home cook who retreats into fantasy, as well as many others. The play casts a light on low wage earners and the lives they lead.
“This is not a play about politics, it’s a play about people,” said director and assistant professor of theatre Matthew Crider. “It’s easy to ignore the people who serve at restaurants, clean our houses or bag our groceries. Joan Holden’s adaptation of Ehrenreich’s social experiment provides us a look, sometimes funny and sometimes sad, at the real people that are working hard to barely get by.”
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