The Role Player’s production in Danville has everything you want from an evening of theatre.
David Lindsay-Abaire’s ‘Good People’ discovers Margie, a down-and-out single mother from South Boston, invading the home of her former boyfriend, a successful doctor. His wife Kate tries to preserve decorum but the characters push through all obstacles in pursuit of their selfish objectives.
Melanie Dupuy’s Margaret drives the action by making the big choices that force everyone to confront her. Dupuy is adroitly mercuric, generous, funny, envious, sad, menacing, fearful, truthful, devious, deeply committed, inappropriate and nonchalant in her efforts to gain material and tactical advantage.
There are no small parts in this play. Kyle Goldmans’s Stevie is sandwiched between success and failure, his strength depending on compromise, which is not a Southy attribute.
Leontyle Mbele-Mbong’s Kate is delicately poised in her success while bound to the chaotic social forces that demand battle, which she delivers.
Bonnie Dechant’s Jean is an opportunist, seductively and cunningly encouraging us to take advantage of the situation.
Barbara Grant’s Dottie casually practices but does not advocate the morality of selfishness.
Edward Nattenberg’s Mike provides the alpha male, manfully inheriting post-modernity’s risks and rewards, attempting to manage the situation with insightful information, generous humor and implicit violence. Above all, he must come out on top.
It’s about the money. Kate can afford a nobility of soul while Margie must chisel away to gain an advantage. Margie being out of work is the central crisis of the play. Mike defends his comfortable position. Stevie must keep his job. The bingo players compete for the jackpot.
Director Eric Fraisher Hayes emphasized the vignette aspect of the play, making the scenes playlets that the audience assemble into the over-arching story. The bingo scenes are examples of the Greek chorus. Each scene is a high-stakes encounter between resourceful people. The characters are coached in the Southy linguistic and gestural dialect.
Lisa Danz’s perfect costumes and Bo Golden’s mobile sets amplify the impressions created by the actors and the director.
The characters in David Lindsay-Abaire’s script drive relentlessly and subtly toward their objectives. The story includes social issues of ethnicity and economic class, which the characters use as weapons to compete in the pursuit of advantage. Relationships are strained to breaking.
‘Good People’ has been in continuous production in the US and UK since its Broadway opening in 2011. Lindsay-Abaire won the Pulitzer Prize in drama for his play ‘Rabbit Hole’.
Plays January 29th to February 14th, 2016 at the Village Theatre in Danville 233 Front Street, Danville CA 94526.
Good People Reserve early!