Sunday, February 17, 2013


This weekend I went to see a production of David Lindsay Abaire's newest play GOOD PEOPLE at Arena Stage in Washington, DC. Abaire has long been one of my favorite playwrights. His play, RABBIT HOLE, is my favorite play of all time. And while I've never seen one of his plays live before this, he is most definitely still my favorite after seeing this production.

GOOD PEOPLE is the story of Margie, a woman far below the poverty line from the Southie area of Boston. After she is fired from her job, she is reconnected with an ex-boyfriend who has gotten out of Southie and is now a successful doctor. When she goes to him to try to find a job, a series of events follow that brings up old feelings and memories and leads to an unexpected evening.

The production was expertly executed from acting to directing to the technical aspects. The show struck the perfect balance of comedy and drama, without anyone feeling as if the play was trying to make fun of lower class people or people of different races or ethnicities. The actors were so truthful in their representations of these lower class characters, that I couldn't separate the actors from the story, which does not happen for me in the theatre too often.

Johanna Day, a Tony Award nominee for her performance in PROOF, was brilliant as Margie and showed the tough skinned woman with such perfect balance of toughness and heart that when she came to crossroads in her life, we as the audience truly felt for her. While she struggled for some lines at times, it played off as emotion and she regained footing without missing a beat.

The supporting cast was equally as strong, portraying much more comedic sides to those living in Southie. I had some personal qualms with some of the acting choices, but they were all made with such strength, that it overall still led to an almost perfect evening.

The set was amazing, because they used a simple background, with box sets that could easily come on and off stage to serve as the different homes and locations.The set was high quality, as one would expect with Arena, but still realized that they were sets and not real homes/offices.

The sound design, which was an original score for the production that underscored the lengthy scene changes, was brilliant and I hope it gets recognition for its beauty and power.

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