Book your tickets early for this one. It’s a short run—just three weeks. Good People is a wonderful, character-driven play with a terrific cast that’s well worth seeing. Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, David Lindsay-Abaire, this big time award winner runs from April 13 till April 29.
The most important character in the play is ‘Southie’ itself, the hardscrabble working class Irish area in South Boston where the play takes place. The residents’ problems are predictable—they get pregnant, drop out of school, take low paying jobs, lose them, can’t pay rent, smoke, cuss, and play Bingo. It’s how Lindsay-Abaire’s characters survive in this sad microcosm. That he has managed to bring them to life with such humor and drama gives this play its entertainment value.
The story centers on Margaret, (played brilliantly by George diBraud) who loses her $9.00/hour job as cashier at a dollar store, desperately needed to support her handicapped daughter. Margaret, her sidekick Jean (the mouthy Southie) wonderfully portrayed by Bostonian Mary Falconer, and her landlady, Dottie (the talented Peggy Montgomery), round out a gossipy threesome over coffee klatches and Bingo cards, churning up hare-brained schemes to find her a job.
Jean convinces Margaret to look up Mike, an old boyfriend, for some help finding a job (well played by Michael Castellano). Mike grew up in the projects but managed to get out of Southie—the ambition of all its denizens—and is now a successful fertility doctor, married to Kate, a lovely middle class African American college professor. Mike is more complicated than he seems, as is Margaret. Both seem ‘nice’ until their chains are rattled. He is charming but she can rile him when she calls him ‘lace curtain Irish’ and he loses it. As the main character, Margaret arouses our sympathy until a scene where Mike tells her she could have gotten out of Southie too, and she gets passive aggressive, and not so nice.
Simoné Elizabeth Bart does a great job as Kate, whose cool voice of reason at the couple’s home, defuses an ugly scene between Mike and Margaret. And Justin Ahearn succeeds in eliciting our sympathy as Margaret’s patient boss forced to fire her, but later offers help.
Director Danny Weathers has uncanny instincts for drawing out the best of his performers and has done an excellent job in Good People. Carmen Rodriguez has managed to convey a wealth of information about the class of the characters through clothing and props. Compliments to the actors for capturing the Southie accent.
Don’t miss Good People. It’s funny, it’s sad, and it’s beautifully performed.
For tickets and more information go to http://www.waterfrontplayhouse.org or call 305 294-5015. Curtain time 8:00. The playhouse is at 310 Wall St.
(Joanna Brady is a Key West writer, author of a historical novel about Key West, The Woman at the Light, published by St. Martin’s Press)