Excellent Acting, Awkward Moments in Theatre B’s “Good People”
Published: Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 14:09
Opening for its tenth season on Sept. 21, Fargo’s Theatre B gave its audiences something new to enjoy in the form of “Good People.” Written by David Lindsay-Abaire, it tells the story of Margaret (Lori Horvik), a middle-aged, down-on-her-luck single mother.
We meet our main character just as she is being fired from her job at the local dollar store in Southie, a Boston neighborhood. Margaret, now jobless, is barely able to pay the rent and is totally responsible for her mentally-handicapped adult daughter Joyce. After a fruitless job search, Margaret takes the advice of her friend Jean (Terri Egan, in a role incarnate of Roseanne Barr) and goes to see their old friend Mike (Brian Fuder), who is now a successful doctor.
Like any reunion between old friends, it is a warm and friendly one. After the usual pleasantries, the scene takes a very uncomfortable turn. Margaret will not let past actions from their childhood be. She also passive aggressively denounces Mike as a stereotypical moneybags doctor who forgot where he came from. Mike, on the other hand, makes every other sentence extremely awkward and reluctantly invites Margaret to his birthday party to hit up his medical friends for a job.
During a night at bingo with Jean, their landlady Dottie (Pam Strait), and her former boss Stevie (Blaine Edwards), Margaret gets a call from Mike that the party is cancelled due to his daughter’s illness. Jean convinces Margaret that he is lying, and she goes anyway. Things really take turn for the worse here.
Margaret ends up meeting Mike’s young wife Katie (Christine Hoper) at the nonexistent party and then it starts to get really uncomfortable. Mike and Katie’s marital problems are laid bare. Mike and Margaret’s past relationship is revealed, as well as an enormous secret that Margaret has kept from Mike for over thirty years.
Every conceivable human emotion is displayed between Mike, Katie and Margaret during her visit and it proved to be very painful to watch. Mike would blow his top, Margaret would make for the door and Katie would say something that would bring everyone back together, only to erupt in another fight three minutes later. This scene was done very well by Horvik, Fuder and Hoper, but seemed very unrealistic and was extremely uncomfortable to watch.
Besides the awkward moments, plenty of comedy courses through this performance. Any scene with Jean and Dottie will not disappoint, as well as Margaret’s reminiscences about friends from Southie in the old days. Act One ends on perhaps the funniest of all notes in this performance, but beware: profanity is used and to great comedic effect.
“Good People” is an excellent performance despite the parts of Act Two where one just wants to scream, “Leave already!” The small stage and its relation to the seating make for a cozy setting, but the downside to this is the acoustics whenever loud noises arise. Also leaving something to be desired is the length of the play. Two and a half hours seems a little long for our Southie heroine to find her way in the world after getting the boot from the dollar store. However, the ending is worth it all and subtly gives the reasoning for the title of the play.
“Good People” runs at Theatre B at 716 Main Avenue until Oct. 13. All performances are Thurs. through Sat. at 7:30 p.m., with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. on Oct. 7. Tickets are $10 for students, $15 for seniors and $20 for adults.