Written by David Lindsay-Abaire
Directed by Christine Dunford
The play "Good People," set in the working class ‘Southie’ neighborhood of Boston, examines the sheer force of will and fight for life that it takes every day for the many of us who struggle to put food on the table and to hold on to poorly paid jobs. It achieves this through humor, pathos, sarcasm and a sublime use of memorable and believable characters, whose familiar stories resonate and remain long after the play is over.
Margret is the central character of the story and it is her difficulties around which the play revolves. After falling pregnant and leaving high school without graduating, Margaret’s baby is born with severe problems and her boyfriend leaves them both to fend for themselves. It is here that we meet her, after 20 years or more have passed, and the life she has struggled through has left its mark on her. But Margaret remains hopeful with a kind of raw, deeply emotional grace, and an array of friends who keep her close and do what they can.
Having been fired from yet another job, always for being late to work because of her daughter, she becomes more and more desperate. As her landlady’s understanding is wearing thin, she is persuaded by her friend Jean to look up her old boyfriend Mike, who has recently returned to Boston as a successful doctor, the local boy made good and to ask him to help her find work.
Mike seems nervous about reconnecting to his humble origins and his reluctance is read as judgement by Margaret, already insecure and full of self doubt. What follows is a profoundly authentic glimpse into the world of the half forgotten, blue collar, salt of the earth Irish American and a reflection on the chances gifted us that are rarely appreciated. The play is peopled with characters straight out of Chaucer or Dickens, each striving to do more than survive, to raise their own individual existences above the worries that wear us all down, money, purpose, and the search for love and respect.
"Good People" is clearly a brilliantly written play.
David Lindsay-Abaire won a pulitzer prize for his play "Rabbit Hole," and "Good People" has been nominated for two Tony’s, received the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play, the Horton Foote Prize, as well as the Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award…not too shabby.
But what struck me most about it, apart from the clever, cutting humor, was Margaret’s painfully drawn tragedy and the insightful and intimate exposure of how fate makes and breaks us, and how remarkable we all have the hope to be, in the face of almost overwhelming odds and ever increasing pressures. How miraculous is the human capacity for faith. Faith in ourselves, in each other or in something better, something beyond the harshness of life.
I loved this production. Simply staged, touchingly performed and achingly real. Christine Dunford has taken what could well become a classic of the American stage and a group of truly astonishing actors and produced something profound, heartbreaking and beautiful.
Every single actor managed to deliver each character with such subtly and honesty that it almost seemed as if we were all sitting together, around the bingo table, cursing the bingo caller right along with them, reminding us that we are all of us only separated from one another by fate, and by geography, and by the accident of birth.
How magical this play is, to combine the sharing of our own deepest fears of inadequacy and self-doubt with hope, and the realization that the means by which we measure our success as people can be as flawed and fallacious as there are stars in the sky.
This production of "Good People" is utterly brilliant and a shining example of just how truly wonderful LA small theatre can be…I highly and thoroughly recommend "Good People" at The Hudson Guild Theatre.
Kia Hellman (Margaret)
Tyler Meridith (Stevie)
Marsha Morgan (Dottie)
Laura House (Jean)
Shayne Anderson (Mike)
Keiana Richàrd (Kate)
Chip Bolcik (Voice of Priest)
The Design Team
Yuri Okahana (Set Designer)
Azra King-Abadi (Lighting Designer)
Maggie Lima (Costume Designer)
DJ Medina (Sound Designer)
Bethany Tucker (Prop Master)
Runs: April 29 through June 5, 2016
Plays: Fridays & Saturdays 8:00 PM; Sundays 3:00 PM
General Admission: $20
Buy Tickets: www.plays411.com/goodpeople or 323-960-5770
Running Time: Approximately 120 minutes; there will be one 10 minute intermission
Where: The Hudson Guild Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90038