Good Faith – Review by Marlene S. Gaylinn

The title of Karen Hartman’s World Premiere, “Good Faith” which is currently playing at Yale Repertory Theatre, has many thought-provoking connotations – especially when applied to the New Haven Fire Department’s landmark case “Ricci v. DeStefano.” This is because the four actors, Laura Heisler (who represents the Writer), Rene Augesten (Karen and others), Ian Bedford (Frank and others) and Billy Eugene Jones (Mike) portray many points of view regarding discrimination, politics and basic human nature.

Directed by Kenny Leon, and set by Stephani Cohen against a backdrop of red firehouse entrances, the play can be powerful if it makes you think critically and perhaps come to the conclusion that there can be many right answers and no perfect solutions. I feel that this is because human nature and politics remain the same, while our growing society keeps changing.

As we go through the period of the New Haven Fire Fighters’ conflict from October 2015 and June 2017, one statement regarding the premise of “acting in good faith” is the line: – is the law a matter of politics?” This significant question hits home as we see this same conflict every day in our society — both in the current news broadcasts and in our own individual lives.

There are also many aspects of discrimination that are not purely black and white. In frankly speaking about the broad topic of discrimination, “The Writer,” who acts as the insecure interviewer, points out that she’s had her share of it. She is Jewish and her son happens to be autistic and very smart. When he was younger, the son wanted to be a fireman. Although, he is very talented, like the firemen in question, he couldn’t easily pass any standard written tests either. Discrimination of other minorities, as well as the amount of women in the New Haven Fire Department and their rates of promotion were also brought out in this play.

All the actors are very believable and outstanding as they play well against each other. Although their fast-talking sometimes shoots by too fast to digest, this interesting work will hold your attention and cause you to ponder your own solutions to the microcosm of the New Haven Fire Department.
Plays through Feb. 13 Tickets: 203-432-1234

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