Look at How the Other Half Lives
TR Robertson ….The first play for 2017 for Scripps Ranch Theatre, located at the Legler Benbough Theatre on the Alliant International University campus, “Good People”, pits friends and families, past and present, against one another in a clash of choices, living standards, emotions and relationships. The 2011 play, written by David Lindsay-Abaire, was first staged at the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York City at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. It was nominated for two Tony Awards, Best Play and won for Best Leading Actress in a Play (Frances McDormand). The play also won a Drama Desk Awards for Best Play, an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Leading Actress and a New York Critics Circle Awards for Best Play of the 2010-2011 season.
Photos by Ken Jacques
The play centers around Margie Walsh, a down on her luck middle-aged woman living in South Boston, trying to keep any job she can while she raises an adult retarded child. Margie’s life seems to be centered around the old saying, “If it wasn’t for bad luck you’d have no luck at all”. Margie is played by Heidi Bridges, making her debut at Scripps Ranch Theatre. Ms. Bridges brings emotion, grit and empathy to Margie, complete with the classic Boston accent as she tries to fast talk her way out of situations she falls into. Margie feels she has made a number of bad choices in her life and she has had to do things to survive that kept her from having what others have. Her two friends, Dottie, played by Kathi Copeland, also a first timer for the Scripps Ranch Stage, and Jean, played by the Scripps Ranch Public Relations Coordinator and a veteran actress Susan Clausen, banter back and forth, throwing insults out to one another in a give and take sequence, also complete with Boston accent. Susan has Boston roots and said she was excited to return to her background in this play. The quickly paced dialogue was filled with humor, a little raunchy at times, and gave insight into the trials and troubles Margie faces.
The action in the play builds when Margie seeks to find a job and go the office of a former high school sweetheart who is now a doctor. Ted Leib plays Mike, now a doctor who has risen from the struggles and poverty of South Boston to now living in the upper middle class neighborhood of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, with a young wife and young daughter. Ted Leib has performed in many local productions and has directed two plays at Scripps Ranch Theatre. Mr. Leib brings a powerful, emotional performance to his role as the former boyfriend who has made a better life for himself and now has to deal with a woman trying to bring up past memories and questions his reason for leaving. Add to this the possibly of dealing with a dark secret in Margie’s life and in Mike’s life. Alexandra Slade plays Mike’s wife Kate. She is also making her SRT debut. Kate is dealing with her own marital issues with Mike, but upon meeting Margie there are several humorous scenes, first with Margie’s arrival at Kate’s home and another in dealing with a huge cheese platter. Tension, emotion, and hostility run rampant in Mike’s home as old and new feelings rise to the surface between Mike, Kate and Margie.
Also in “Good People” is another new actor to the Scripps Ranch Stage, Kenny Bordieri, who plays The Dollar Store manager, Stevie, who must deal with Margie in Scene 1 of Act 1, as he questions her work ethic and again at the church bingo hall. Eighty-three year old Allen Rachel has his first acting role ever as the voice of the church priest who reads out the Bingo numbers.
A wonderful, interchangeable set allowed the play to shift from an alleyway behind the Dollar Store to the main characters kitchen to a doctor’s office to a church basement to an upper middle class living room. Scenic design and set construction was by Bob Shuttleworth and properties mistress Bonnie Durben, and her assistants, quickly moved walls and furniture to change the look on the stage. The play was directed by Eric Poppick who has been directing plays in San Diego since 2006 and spent 30 years in Los Angeles acting in and directing stage, television and film productions.
This play raises many issues about people’s lives, the classes we are born into, the struggles to change, obligations to those around us, friendship, what role luck plays in our lives and much more. “Good People” will be on stage at Scripps Ranch Theatre Fridays thru Sundays, until February 26th. Tickets are available at www.scrippsrahcntheatre.org or call 858-578-7728. Next up for Scripps Ranch Theatre will be “Flemming (An American