What does the “American Dream” and socio-economic class have in common? Both of these items set the scene for the Indiana Repertory Theatre’s (IRT) newest stage play, “Good People,” written by Pulitzer Prize-winning screenwriter David Lindsay-Abaire and directed by Mark Cuddy.
“Good People” was commissioned by the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York and made its debut in 2011. The show presented on the OneAmerica Stage at the IRT stars Indianapolis native, Constance Macy who plays Margie, a single mother of a child with special needs who constantly struggles financially and looking for employment.
Throughout the play Margie discovers,through her interaction with others, what it takes to be a good person.
On opening night, Jan. 9, people flocked to the OneAmerica Stage to view IRT’s highly-anticipated show and very much so, the crowd varied. This production did a quality job of attracting people from all socio-economic classes. Unlike most stage plays where everyone laughs together at humorous scenes, the bursts of laughter rippled through the theatre. This reaction displayed the different struggles and opportunity each person has faced in their lives, which varies person to person.
Full of Humor
Although Margie had been fired from her job and is searching for a way to stay afloat, the production is full of humor. While profanity is used, it adds to the many layers each character holds on to and is expressed in an enjoyable light.
The construction of the characters was crafted and displayed perfectly. Although Margie is the central character, the five others introduced each have a story to tell, where they have their own lives, own struggles and own opportunities. Each character was played very well. For a great part of the show, I forgot it was a “play” because I’d gotten so trapped into the story line, which can’t be done without superb acting.
The IRT and the scenic designer, Jo Winiarski do a great job at using the entire stage as their playground. I was highly impressed with the creative scene transitions as it was done by using periactoids, three-sided pivoting units, that when pieced together, completed each scene. The periactoids helped the scenes transition quickly without lengthy breaks in between.
What this production puts a obvious focus on is social class and what it takes to live the “American Dream.” According to a 2013 Pew Research study, 70 percent of all people born into low-income families remain there and only 4 percent become high-income earners. It is a show about persistence, decisions and equity, whereas everyone may not receive the same. The plot helps audience members reflect on where they came from and where they are presently. Several questions are raised in “Good People” because socio-economic class isn’t acknowledged as often as other issues such as race. America was founded on the principles of “Equality for all,” and this production leaves the audience with discussion and lingering conversation.
“Good People” shows at the IRT until Feb. 1. For more information, visit Irtlive.com.