Nickel and Dimed | Greenhouse Theater Center | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Nickel and Dimed Member Picks The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Aug. 11 2013

For her 2001 best-selling book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, social critic Barbara Ehrenreich took several low-paying jobs—waitress, maid, Walmart associate—to better understand the plight of the working poor. Why didn't she just ask them? Since we know she's merely on a vacation from privilege, Ehrenreich inevitably comes across as patronizing and self-congratulatory. The same problems plague Joan Holden's stage adaptation, produced here by TangleKnot Theatre. An Ehrenreich surrogate delivers huge chunks of narration and carping asides to the audience throughout the show, inviting us to view the working-class characters from a safe distance. Cynthia Castiglione makes it worse by playing the part with upper-crust vocal patterns and a pearls-clutching demeanor. She's always either frazzled or affronted.—Zac Thompson

Price: $20


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