By Natalie Bieser
September 11, 2012
Annie Fitzpatrick as Margie, Michael Carr as Stevie
Captivating, funny and poignant, Good People opened the Ensemble Theatre’s 2012-2013 season with the regional premiere of the Tony Award nominated play written by Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsay-Abaire. (That’s right, I used Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize in the same sentence.)
Set in present day South Boston’s Lower End (think The Departed and Good Will Hunting), Good People opens with Margie Walsh – played by Annie Fitzpatrick – getting laid off from her cashier job at the local dollar store. Born and raised as a “Southie,” Margie is a single mother who has worked countless jobs since high school to raise her adult daughter with a “child’s mind” just to make ends meet.
Lacking the opportunity to get out of her working-class town, Margie has made a decent life surrounded by “good people” including her friend Jean played by Kate Wilfrod and friend/landlord, Dottie, played by Deb G. Girdler. “Southies” similar to Cincinnatians, have all grown up together, share stories of the past and can tell you pretty much anything about anyone with whom they grew up.
Annie Fitzpatrick as Margie, Kate Wilford as Jean, Deb G. Girdler as Dottie
Desperate to find a job, Margie reconnects with her high school boyfriend Mike – played by Chris Clavelli – who she hasn’t seen in years. Mike did escape from the South End, securing a college education and is now a successful fertility doctor living in the suburbs.
Clavelli is fantastic in his role. You never know if you should like him or hate him. In many awkward and comical moments, Margie’s visit to Mike’s office, and subsequently to his home in the upper crust Boston neighborhood, Chestnut Hill, reveal that some people are not so “good” after all.
Good People explores many themes: community, friendship, survival, opportunity, economy, and life in general. It’s a play with which anyone can relate.
As mentioned in a previous iSPYCINCY review, the Ensemble is an intimate theatre so every seat is a good one (pun intended)! There is just something about seeing live theatre and sharing the emotion of the play in close quarters with others who are laughing, tearing up, and awkwardly squirming at the same parts.
Annie Fitzpatrick as Marige, Margaret Ivey as Kate, Chris Clavelli as Mike
Starring Frances McDormand, Good People premiered on Broadway last year and was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play. Good People is also a recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award and was named Best Play of the 2010-2011 season by the New York Drama Critics Circle as well as featured on the 2011 “Top Ten” theater lists of New York Magazine, Newsday and Time Out. Good People merited some good press and rightfully so!
Good People runs through September 23rd at the Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati.
For more information and to purchase tickets please click here.
*Photo credits: Ryan Kurtzto top ↑