An education in social justice


Freshmen Cameron Bichler and Brandon Easter practice their roles as underpaid workers

Leila Aboussir, photographer

Returning to the stage, this year’s acting class takes on a production which both recognizes unjust labor wages while also showcasing the talents of the students involved.

“Nickel and Dimed,” a social justice play based off of a true story, follows the story of writer Barbara Ehrenreich as she discovers the perils under-paid workers face on a daily basis in our country. Through this, Barbara takes on low-class jobs, like being a waitress for a local restaurant, a hotel cleaner, and a “Mall-Mart” worker.

The inspiring role of Barbara is performed by sophomore Rachel Hogen, who feels honored to have received such a powerful character to portray. “Barbara is such an inspirational character. She goes out there and completely switches her lifestyle all in order to write a book, but she also tries to get the public aware of the issue which is a pretty amazing thing,” said Hogen.

The acting class has been diligently working on and perfecting this play since the beginning of the first semester. “We’ve been working on this for a long time. So much that my script is no longer legible to anyone but me because of all the cuts and blocking that have been written over the past months,” said Hogen.

Kiley Petersen, a sophomore playing the role of Barbara’s boss, finds this acting experience to be both challenging and rewarding. “Pulling the whole thing together and being able to convey the stressful lives of the working poor is challenging, but I learned so much about jobs during this play,” said Petersen.

The students in the acting class were taught not only about the difficulty of unfair wages, but about the art of acting as well from their teacher Mrs. Maura Brew. “Seriously, every day is an adventure. Mrs. Brew is a great teacher and I love our class,” said Petersen.

Mrs. Brew works rigorously each year on not only producing a great play, but on helping the students learn the art of acting through experience. “Many of the acting class have never been on stage before, and they have not only risen to the challenge, but they have outdone themselves in their grasp of material and in their ability to convey to the audience the importance and relevance of the material,” said Brew.

The acting class feels as though everyone should experience this play first hand, for this play portrays an important moral relevant to modern day. “This play isn’t your average happy-go-lucky American family, it’s about a harsh reality, that a lot of real American families and people have to live and go through everyday,” said Hogen.

The acting class has already performed this play to the social justice non-violence classes to help educate and help promote fair labor wages. For those interested in sharing in the message of this play, the cast performs at their conference meet on January 15th and at their subsection meet on January 27th.