‘Working 2020’ at Whitefire Theatre reveals plight of American middle class

Review by Radomir Vojtech Luza

If you want to see a study on the theme of the working world in a series of separate theatrical scenes, run, don’t walk to the World Premiere of Working 2020 in Sherman Oaks.

The production at Whitefire Theatre presented by the Actors Gym, as conceived by Bobby Moresco and developed/directed by members of Moresco’s Actors Gym, runs through November 9.

The scenes are an updated version of author Studs Terkel’s best known book Working.

Exploring fresh ground, 11 actors portray 11 characters. The Academy Award-winning Moresco (Crash) and these wonderfully gifted actors have pulled-off the impossible: they make us care about the disappearing American middle class in a way that goes beyond the political and economic to the psychological.

They marry Terkel’s mindset to the idea in French philosopher Albert Camus’ essay “The Myth of Sisyphus” that work is the most important question in our lives. It will destroy us or save us.

Standouts include the powerfully transparent Tonya Cornelisse in “The Writer”, the brilliantly convincing Pauline Shantzer in “The Waitress” (also writer), and the extraordinary Thomas Polanski in “The Actor” (also writer).

Whitefire’s artistic director Bryan Rasmussen proves his commitment to new and vital work with this production which was created at Saturday afternoon sessions at the theatre with the help of the Actors Gym’s actors and writers.

The success of Working 2020 shows that all is well on Ventura Blvd. artistically, intellectually and historically.