I’m venturing out of the more academic side of Moravian to the creative. Moravian College's Theater Company, one of the best known of the many organized clubs on campus, has been doing a series of play readings on Friday nights. They had a play reading of “Good People” on Friday, Oct. 14. Going hand in hand with this year’s In Focus theme, Poverty and Inequality, the play took us to modern day Southside Boston and the plight of Margie.
A “Southie” native, Margie is fired from her job at a dollar store due to her being constantly late. Her adult daughter, Joyce, is mentally retarded and cannot take care of herself, so she is constantly late because of her daughter’s fits. With no completed formal education, she has to struggle to find a job in a poor economy.
The play provides a look between the poor and those who are financially well off. It compares Margie to her old childhood friend Michael, who got out of Southside to become a doctor and now lives “comfortably”, as he calls it.
For a two act play, it gives a really complex interaction between the characters, all who are struggling in their own way, and the lengths to which they’ll go to get by. Margie tries to trick Michael into thinking he is Joyce’s father so she could receive support. She also tries to manipulate her manager so she wouldn’t be fired. It’s essentially a play about survival, and raising questions about the lengths people will go to in order to survive.
It’s hard not to connect the play to the current “We are the 99 Percent” movement taking place right now, fueled by rising unemployment rates and a widening economic gap between the rich and poor. I think many in the audience, including myself, were reminded of someone as we watched the play, someone who was also desperate and struggling, like Margie.
My favorite part was at the end. After a failed confrontation with Michael, Margie is left with no job still and no money for rent. A check shows up containing enough money for one month’s rent. It turns out it came from the man who had to fire her. It wasn’t from Michael, who Margie always considered “good people” but from the man who had put her – however unwillingly – into her current situation, showing us just what really is “good people”.
So, did anyone else see the play? What did you think?