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Leave stereotypes at the bar

September 14, 2012
tags: ,

Published in Metro

“Good People” is a play about Southie, but it’s not about the stereotypes, not Whitey Bulger-like mobsters nor hard-drinking Irish immigrants.

“The play really is about the American Dream. It’s about class and wealth and poverty,” explains Michael Laurence, who plays Mikey in the Huntington Theatre Company’s production.

The story centers on Margie, a down-on-her-luck single mom who looks up her old high school boyfriend for help. Mikey, now a wealthy, Ivy League-educated doctor living in Chestnut Hill, “got out.”

“In a way he’s running from his past,” says Laurence. “He tries to romanticize the circumstances that he grew up in—poverty—to bolster this image of himself as a self-made man.”

Playwright David Lindsay-Abaire, grew up in Southie in the 1970s and 1980s, and he’s based this play on the neighborhood he knew first-hand.

“By putting a character from Southie and a character from Chestnut Hill on a collision course, David’s put a magnifying glass on class in this particular prism of Boston,” says Laurence.

The actors researched and walked around the neighborhood so that they can portray South Boston inhabitants as authentically as possible. Sticking to the script helps too, of course.

“David has this acute ear for the rhythms of speech, the way people talk and express themselves,” says the actor, who described the show’s dialogue as fast and funny. “I think some of the hard truths go down easier because of the humor.”

Ponder this

In the play, struggling heroine Margie ponders a philosophical question: Is it luck, or the choices you make, that determine your fate?

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