"GOOD PEOPLE" AREN'T ALWAYS EASY TO FIND

BONNIE GOLDBERG

Choices and opportunities are abundant for many and, unfortunately, sparse for others. Seeing possibilities is an excellent first step in finding your way forward and upward. Where you are born, with or without that silver spoon, can influence your future, encouraging or limiting your options.

Just ask Margaret Walsh, a scrappy and feisty graduate of "Southie," the South Boston's Lower End, who can't escape her birthplace no matter how hard she struggles. In David Lindsay-Abaire's steel-boned 2011 play "Good People," he allows us to see Margie, warts and all, as she valiantly tries to make a better life for herself and for her adult disabled daughter Joyce. The Square One Theatre Company will present this play weekends until Saturday, March 21.

The stars have seemingly all aligned against Margie, beautifully captured in Janet Rathert's capable hands. The blue collar Boston neighborhood Margie calls home has plotted and conspired to hold her down. Never having finished high school because of an unwanted pregnancy, this single mom has limited resources and even those are in danger of drying up.

As a cashier in a Dollar Store, she relies on her friends Jean (Danielle Sultini) and Dottie (Alice McMahon) for moral support. Dottie also babysits because Joyce can't be left alone. Now, her too frequent tardiness has caused her boss Stevie (Darius James Copland) to fire her. Her salary, although barely minimum wage, has been keeping a roof over her head, as Dottie is also her landlord.

Homelessness is soon added to her list of terrors.

Just when the day seems darkest, her friend Jean tells Margie she has just bumped into their old Southie pal Mike (Brian Michael Riley) at a fundraising event and he is now a successful doctor. Maybe Mike will be Margie's knight in shining armor and rescue her with a job. After all, the two dated for a few months back in high school days. Their history should count for something.

Watch how Margie tries to make Mike and his new wife, the lovely African-American Kate (Jessica Myers), hand her a winning lottery ticket. Can she force them to change her luck? Does Mike owe her anything from the past? Can Margie use sabotage and blackmail to manipulate the odds to her advantage? Will the fact that Mike always was "good people" work in her favor? Tom Holehan directs this dark comedy that will tug on your heartstrings as you alternately applaud and cringe at Margie's tactics as she risks everything for a new beginning.

For tickets ($20, students and seniors $19), call Square One Theatre Company, 2422 Main Street, Stratford at 203-375-8778 or online at www.squareonetheatre.com. Performances are Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

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