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Searching for Shelter: Playwright Mia McCullough's "Spare Change" explores the desire to "do something" | Newcity Stage
By Brian Hieggelke A homeless man begs for money, an elderly woman struggles down the street and you wrestle with questions. Shouldn't you help? Can you help? This everyday dilemma drives playwright Mia McCullough's "Spare Change," which opens its world-premiere production in previews at Stage Left this week. In a nuanced, witty text, McCullough explores what happens when one of her characters feels compelled to step in and try to help a battered mother who seems to be prostituting herself to get by. "Spare Change" deftly weaves themes of race, class and the universal challenges of marriage around its central question about social responsibility. All themes that, to varying degrees, find origins in McCullough's own life. McCullough grew up in New York, then came to Northwestern for college, where she met her future husband, and they decided to stay here. After a frustrating attempt at breaking into screenwriting ("the assistants all said they really liked my work, but had no power to