Wednesday, February 12, 2014

‘Good People,’ real people

Explore where hope lies in new Company of Fools play

Express Staff Writer

Jana Arnold and Chris Carwithen play bingo in “Good People.”
Courtesy photo by Kirsten Shultz

    “Welcome to Southie, a Boston neighborhood where a night on the town means a few rounds of bingo—where this month’s paycheck covers last month’s bills … and where Margie Walsh has just been let go from yet another job.”
    Margie, the central character in the Company of Fools’ latest production, “Good People,” will touch hearts as a familiar persona with plausible ideas. Facing eviction and scrambling to catch a break, Margie, as the story unfolds, thinks an old fling who has made it out of Southie might be her ticket to a fresh new start.
    The audience will find out if this apparently self-made man is secure enough to face his humble beginnings as Margie risks what little she has left to find out.
    To get the answer, stop by the Liberty Theatre in Hailey for one of 13 performances, which begin tonight, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m. with a “Pay What You Feel” opening. The performances continue through Saturday, March 1.
    The story, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire, is directed by Danielle Kennedy. The cast includes local actors Jana Arnold, Denise Simone, Joel Vilinsky and Patsy Wygle, as well as guest actors Chris Carwithen and Nylda Mark. Others involved in the production include Joe Lavigne (set design), Steven Koehler (light design), Ann Price (dialect coach) and K.O. Ogilvie (stage manager). 
    The performance was chosen to fit with the Sun Valley Center for the Arts’ theme of its upcoming exhibit, “Creativity and Work.”
    Nominated for a 2011 Tony Award for Best Play, Lindsay-Abaire’s “Good People” takes an affectionate look at the “haves” and “have-nots” through the eyes of characters who won’t be ignored. The original stage presentation of “Good People” was at the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York City in 2011. After opening on Broadway later in 2011, “Good People” won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play.
    With his signature humorous glow, Lindsay-Abaire explores the struggles, shifting loyalties and unshakeable hopes that come with having next to nothing in America.
    “Good People” had its official opening on Broadway on March 3, 2011, with Frances McDormand and Tate Donovan in the lead roles. The play does contain strong language and is recommended for theater fans ages 13 and up.
    Tickets are $35, $25 for seniors and Center members, and $10 for students (18 and under). Those ticket prices do not include the “Pay What You Feel” preview tonight, the 10 for $10 offerings, and Educator Night (Feb. 23). There is also a special $25 rate for groups of six or more.
    Tickets can be purchased online at, by phone at 578-9122 or at the Liberty Theatre box office starting one hour prior to curtain. The Company of Fools box office is at the theater, at 110 N. Main Street in Hailey, with hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Get deeper
Post-show, on Sunday, Feb. 23, theater-goers can join in a discussion with The Rev. Ken Brannon, The Rev. John Moreland and the cast of “Good People” to explore the themes in this compelling and relevant story. What does it mean to be a good person? How does our past affect our choices in the present? What role does hope play in situations under duress? The show starts at 3 p.m.


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