Good People

American Flag Quilt at Big Sky

American Flag Quilt at Big Sky

I am so glad that I pre-blogged the last 36 hours. What day is it again? This is Saturday, right? My preplanning for a night out makes for more seamless blogging afterwards. Dinner and a show was what I was telling my co-workers at work on Friday. Friday night was date night. It was a double date night, with DJ and Captain Don. Dinner was at Big Sky Café and the show was at the Rep. We caught at the end of its run, ‘Good People”, by David Lindsay-Abaire.

I did not have the pot roast, as is my usual wont. [Happy, Gene?] Instead I had fish, Arctic Char. Our wait-person said that it is a sustainable species. Although, it did not taste like a cross between salmon and trout, like she said it would. The pictured flag quilt was past Don’s shoulder from my viewpoint at the dinner table.

The reason I was able to abstain from beef, was that I had been eating it all week. The genesis of this cuisine was last weekend’s WSJ. It had an article on beef bourguignon. The article listed various NYC restaurants that serve this dish. It also had a recipe for some DIY cooking. I bought the ingredients last Sunday, but what with all of our outing and abouting that day, we ended up punting.

The going-in plan was for me to do the cooking, but since it wasn’t until Tuesday that the meal was prepared, Anne ended up doing most of the work. There was one other wee bit of a problem. The recipe called for using a pressure cooker and we didn’t have one. This is the preferred method in restaurants, because it saves so much preparation time. We ended up resorting to Joy, so the result was a bit of a mongrel, but it still tasted pretty good.

In 2011, the play debuted in NYC. Frances McDormand was the Tony Award lead. In 2012, it was produced again in LA. There Jane Kaczmarek (“Malcolm in the Middle”) played Margaret. “Good People” opened this month in Saint Louis. Here Rep newbie, Denise Cormier is Margie. One of the advantages of not seeing a performance until the end of its run is the reduced risk of spoiling it. By the time that this is posted, if you are not already on the way to the theater, then you are not going to make it.

The play opens in an alley behind a Dollar Store, in South Boston. There Margie, a Southie, is being fired for repeated tardiness. Stevie, her boss and long acquaintance, explains that it is either her job or his. She begs for her job, but to no avail. Back at her apartment, we find her out-of-work, on the verge of homelessness, the single mother of an adult developmentally disabled daughter. A girlfriend tells Margie of her chance encounter with Mike, one of Margie’s old flames. Mike is one of the lucky ones; he made it out of the neighborhood. Asking for a job, Margie pays a visit to Mike’s swank fertility clinic.

I’d like to offer a hat tip here to Scenic Designer, Kent Dorsey, for his great taste in furniture. He decided to decorate Mike’s office with a pair of Wassily Chairs, identical to the ones that my Mom had purchased years ago. Nothing says sophistication more than Bauhaus designer Marcel Breuer. The chair was designed in 1925 and was inspired, in part, by the curved tubular steel handlebars on Breuer’s Adler bicycle. It was re-released in the 1960s, and was designated “Wassily” by its Italian manufacturer, who had learned that the painter Wassily Kandinsky had been the recipient of one of the earliest units.

In true Southie fashion Margie manages to bully Mike into tendering an invitation to his upcoming birthday party, calling him all “lace curtain” now. When they were both growing-up, they use to call the Kennedys lace curtain. Later, Mike calls her canceling the party. Convinced that she was just being uninvited, Margie goes to Mike’s house to crash the party anyway.

There really is no party. Mike’s young black wife welcomes her in any way. She eggs Margie on to regale her with some stories from Mike’s Southie past. The conversation soon spins out of control and Margie accuses Mike that he is the father of her daughter. Margie later recants and then flees.

The play ends later, on bingo night. An envelope of money has appeared. Thinking that it is from Mike she is ready to return it, until Stevie owns up to the gift. Also revealed is that the daughter is Mike’s baby, and “everybody knows it”.

Years ago, Margaret had chosen to shoulder her burden alone and not to spoil Mike’s chance to get out. Seeing how the other half lived, tempted her though, but she eventually saw that it was never to be and returned to South Boston. In the first act Mike is refered to as “good people”, but his actions speak differently. Margie is the real “good people”.

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