In David Lindsay-Abaires 2011 serious comedy, Good People, he contends that we all can be selfish or giving, depending on the situation. Deep Dish Theater Companys thoughtfully funny, warmly moving production beautifully supports the playwrights insightful script.
In the working-class neighborhood of South Boston, single mother Margie gets fired from her cashiers job, having missed too much work. She reminds her boss its because of her mentally disabled adult daughter, but he tells Margie he must fire her to keep his own job.
Desperate to make rent, Margie decides to appeal to Mike, a former boyfriend and now successful doctor, after learning hes back in the area. He meets her for old times sake, but says he has nothing when she asks for a job.
Margie pushes the guilt button by contrasting his wealthy lifestyle with her no-options, poverty-stricken existence. Mike reluctantly invites her to a party at his home, suggesting she might find work among his business friends. The party is canceled because Mikes daughter gets sick, but Margie shows up anyway, armed with a drastic plan to elicit Mikes help. However, she is forced to re-evaluate her whole life after meeting Mikes wife and learning the couples history.
The human comedy arises from the crude banter among Margie and her friends, as well as the awkward moments between former lovers. Lurking underneath, however, is the plight of the unemployed, the sadness in dreams defeated and the guilt over hurtful past actions.
Director Tony Lea astutely guides his superb cast in balancing each characters flaws and strengths. Helen Hagan skillfully plays Margies hardened, manipulative side, only to move us deeply with Margies ultimate loving sacrifice. Mark Filiaci is perfectly cast as the confident, well-mannered Mike, perceptively revealing his ambivalence and remorse as the past confronts him. As wife Kate, Rasool Jahan is the essence of urbane sophistication hiding self-doubts and resentments. The trios lengthy second act scene is a gripping roller-coaster ride.
Page Purgar is a laugh machine as Margies outrageous friend Jean, Brian Fisher offers an amusing range of pent-up frustration as Margies boss Stevie, and Sharlene Thomas Dottie, Margies landlady, lives up to the characters name with her off-the-wall ditherings.
Rob Hamiltons impressive turntable of settings and Jenni Mann Beckers mood-enhancing lighting round out this highly recommended staging.