Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

July 12, 2013

Good People

New Century Theatre, Northampton, MA
through July 20, 2013
by K.J. Rogowski

The world created by David Lindsay-Abaire in “Good People,” is populated by distinct, sometimes quirky, but definitely interesting characters, portrayed with a nice mix of humor, hope, and grit by a talented cast. The play is timely in its theme of average, every day folks, faced with the realities of living; some hand to mouth, with family commitments and crises, lay offs, job searches, lost loves, and the randomness of who gets ‘the breaks’ in life, and who does not.

“Good People” follows the journey of Margaret, played with well-paced energy and insight by Sara Whitcomb. After being fired from her minimum wage job in South Boston, Margaret does whatever necessary to provide food and shelter for herself and her developmentally challenged adult daughter. Supporting her in this effort is three rough cut, but genuine, friends: Steve, Dottie (who lives up to her name), and Jean. Each has a unique ‘Southy’ philosophy on how to grab that elusive brass ring. In this case, the brass ring’s name is Mike, an old boyfriend, now a doctor, and what contacts he might have to help Margaret land that desperately needed next job.

Just to make things even more interesting, and to start the real sparks flying, Abaire throws in questions about parent-hood, truth (as memory tells it), motivation, and the puzzle of how far someone goes to get what they want, or to distance themselves from the past.

The story has interesting twists, thoughtful observations, and is well peppered with adult/street language. All the while, “Good People” maintains its humor, a perspective on what really matters in life and a gutsy optimism that, while you may not always win, you win just enough, and life goes on.