Friday, May 25 , 2018, 7:46 pm | A Few Clouds 62º


Gerald Carpenter: Ensemble Theatre Paints a Sympathetic Portrait of ‘Good People’

For its second production in its new venue, the New Victoria Street Theater, the Ensemble Theatre Co. is offering Good People by David Lindsay-Abaire.

David Lindsay-Abaire
Playwright David Lindsay-Abaire

The play, running through Feb. 23, is directed by Jenny Sullivan and stars Alicia Sedwick, Geoffrey Lower, Tracey Leigh, DeeDee Rescher, Catherine Coulson and Matthew Grondin.

The Ensemble's synopsis of the plays informs us that "Good People takes place in two Boston neighborhoods: working-class Southie and upscale Chestnut Hill. Margie Walsh has just lost her job at the Dollar Store and is now one bingo game away from being evicted from her home. Perhaps her high school boyfriend, Mikey, who has managed to escape his blue-collar upbringing to become a successful doctor, could be her ticket out. Filled with humor, pathos and suspense, Good People asks the question: 'Is where we grew up inexorably written on our future chances of success?'”

ETC’s Jonathan Fox says, “Good People is an extraordinary play, not just because it is extremely humorous and insightful, but also for its gripping plot twists. It’s an important play, and I’m thrilled it brings to us a talented cast under the direction of Jenny Sullivan.”

Lindsay-Abaire was awarded the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for his play Rabbit Hole. Also a lyricist and screenwriter, Lindsay-Abaire also wrote off-Broadway's Fuddy Meers and the book for Shrek, The Musical.

Part of the American Dream is the desire to escape, not necessarily our pasts, but our context. Good People examines the question of whether this is still possible.

Alexis de Tocqueville said the defining characteristic of America is "equality of condition" — we have no peasants or hereditary nobility, and no one who holds public office is legally able to pass that office on to his or her children. Yet, looking around, there is little to be seen that supports our boast to being the "land of opportunity." And if you want to get out of the neighborhood where you grew up, you generally have to go alone.

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon dramatized this very attractively in Good Will Hunting, and also gave us South Boston — "Southie" — as the archetype of a tightly-knit, impoverished, working-class neighborhood. Many people in these old neighborhoods — Good People's Margie Walsh, perhaps, among them — don't actually want to get out; they just want to make a decent living and raise their children properly, but the dynamics of contemporary society are against them.

Frances McDormand — Mrs. Joel and Ethan Coen — played Margie in the original Broadway run (2011) of Good People, and she won that year's Tony for Best Actress.

Good People plays at 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and at 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays (no 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 16), with an extra performance at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11 and a Special Saturday Matinee at 4 p.m. Feb. 15.

Admission is $40 to $65. Discounts are available to seniors and groups of 10 or more. Youth price (29 and under) is $20. Tickets are available at the New Victoria Theater box office at 33 W. Victoria St., by phone at 805.965.5400, or online by clicking here.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Supporter

Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >