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Jackson County Stage Company
Carbondale, IL
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Can a middle-aged, middle-class woman survive when she suddenly has to make beds all day in a hotel and live on $7 an hour?  Maybe, but one $7 an hour job won't pay the rent.  She'll have to do back-to-back shifts as a chanmbermaid and a waitress.  This isn't the first surprise for acclaimed author Barbara Ehrenreich who set out to research low-wage life firsthand, confident she was prepared for the worst.  Her best seller about her odyssey is vivid and witty, yet always deeply sobering.  Joan Holden's stage adaptation is a focused comic epic shadowed with tragedy.  Barbara is prepared for hard work but not, at 55, for doubloe shifts and nonstop aches and pains; for having to share tiny rooms, live on fast food because she has no place to cook, beg from food pantries, gulp handfuls of Ibuprofen because she can't afford a doctor, for failing, arfter all that, to make ends meet; or for constantly having to swallow humiliation.  The worst, she learns, is not what happens to her back or 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 pushing 50 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; Holly, terrified her pregnancy will end her job as team leader at Magic Maids, and with it her 50-cent raise.  These characters wage their life struggles with a gallantry that humbles Barbara, and the audience.  The play shows us the life a third of working Americans now lead, and makes us angry that anyone whould have to live it.


Jackson County Stage Company (View)
418 S. Illinois Avenue
Carbondale, IL 62901
United States


Arts > Theatre

Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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