The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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CSUN theater prepares to be ‘Nickel and Dimed’

Daily Sundial

The theatre department at CSUN is starting the spring season with a new take on the best-selling book “Nickel and Dimed” by Barbara Ehrenreich.

It is the compelling story of a female writer who went undercover as a minimum wage earner to understand what working people go through to survive in America. This tale follows the plight of low-wage workers in the U.S.

“Theatrically this play is interesting,” said Ellyn Gersh Lerner, director of “Nickel and Dimed”. “Sixty characters are being played by ten actors.”

Lerner said the student play is being produced by an entirely female cast and a backstage crew of women designers. Only one male is involved with the projection.

Aubrey Canfield, freshman theatre major and an actress in “Nickel and Dimed,” summarized the play as having “a message but [it] also conveys comedy while dealing with a serious subject.”

“Nickel and Dimed” will be Canfield’s first performance at CSUN. She said that she has been involved in theater since she was a child. “Live theater, there’s an element you can’t get from movies, it’s hard work, a lot of fun and I can’t imagine not performing,” she said.

The actors put more than 20 hours of work in a week according to Lerner. Much of the work involves character development, dialect incorporation and the rehearsals.

“The stories are more shocking and thought provoking than the more historically based shows of last year,” Jerry Chappell senior theatre major, said regarding Nickel and Dimed and the upcoming CSUN theater season.

“(“Nickel and Dimed”) has a socioeconomic theme,” said Lerner. “The subject matter is timely, and it is on a lot of people’s minds. Many characters in the play are trying to make ends meet, just like CSUN students.”

Lerner said it would be entertaining for the audience.

Pippa Greene, senior theatre major, said that a live stage play gives you a feeling not synthesized in movies. “Goosebumps, a shiver,” said Greene “It gets you in a way nothing else can.”

These actors are passionate about their craft and are hardworking. Greene said she went through a rigorous auditioning process that included a two-minute monologue. After the audition she went home and waited for a call back.

Greene got the call back and she will be performing in “Nickel and Dimed”. The work only began once she got the role. Due to the number of roles played by a few actors, Greene will be playing six characters.

“I will be playing Margrette, Joan, Kimberley, Woman #4, Grace and a Denny’s customer,” said Greene. “It’s the first time I’ve played so many roles in one play.”

“The hardest part is putting your proverbial blood, sweat and tears into creating characters, memorizing dialogue and working with others: then not having an audience to perform to. The easiest part is working with such talented actors and actress,” said Chappel.

Greene rumored that students don’t appreciate theatre as much as they do music or television.

“I don’t think the school thinks about it, it’s a movie society but I don’t know? I see a lot of students but there’s definitely not 30,000 students seeing the plays” said Greene.

“Nickel and Dimed” begins performances Feb. 24.

Virginia George may be contacted at

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