Analysis of “Good People” by David Lindsay- Abaire

Analysis of “Good People” by David Lindsay- Abaire 150 150 Affordable Capstone Projects Written from Scratch


Good People

Good People is a play set in the region of South Boston where there is a blue-collar neighborhood at the place, Lindsay- Abaire grew up. Margie Walsh had been fired from another job, and she was facing eviction and decides to appeal towards an old friend who has left the Southie in the past. The literature below looks into the play of “Good People” by David Lindsay-Abaire, the play, a brief biography about the author, the play interpretation, adoptions and a conclusion as to why the director, who is our professor, should stage the play and produce it on our campus.

The Play

Author: David Lindsay- Abaire grew up in the South Boston neighborhood and was born in the year 1969. His mother worked in a factory, and she loved bingo whereas his father sold fruits from a particular truck. When he was young, David caught his parents’ attention as he was in a local boys and girls club that was working on getting him a scholarship on a prestigious preparatory school called Milton Academy. When he was 11 years old, David attended the school that was at Milton and later went to study at Sarah Lawrence University and finally at Juilliard (Lindsay-Abaire, 35).

As a student there, David got a chance to learn from different playwrights such as Christopher Durang and Marsha Norman. They influenced his work significantly, and that can be observed in the various choices he made to tackle the difficult subjects as well as his tendency towards infusing humor and wit into some of his best works.

The first commercial hit that David made was in 1999 at Fuddy Meers which was later followed by some works that were well-received including ‘Kimberly Akimbo’ and ‘Wonder of the World.’ Today, David is known best for his play that won the Pulitzer Prize called Rabbit Hole in the year 2007 (Lindsay-Abaire, 12).

Good People is one of his recent works which draws on his history since it deals with the characters who were brought from his childhood neighborhood. It also asks carious questions that revolve around the particular idea of loyalty to heritage, loyalty towards a place, the divide that is widening between different classes of people in America and the meaning of rising above and moving past difficult situations (Lindsay-Abaire, 33). The play has a subject matter that is though-provoking, and it is both moving and funny. It has also been nominated for a Tony Award.

Synopsis: “Good People” is a funny and compelling story concerning a single mother that loses her job while she was working at a dollar store. She became desperate to provide for her adult daughter who was disabled and avoid the eviction that she tracks down an old crash or flame and begs him for employment.  He is a doctor, successful and had left behind the early life of Southie in the past and was leaving in a wealthy hill in Chestnut. Both of their worlds collide, and that reveals the meaning behind being destitute within a culture which is pursuing the American Dream and also believes that opportunity presents itself to people that work hard (Lindsay-Abaire et al., 24).

The Play revolves around the middle-aged mother called Margaret who has been spending her entire life in the primary insular and Irish Boston region called Southie. She inevitably dropped out school so that she could raise her baby while she was still a teenager and has been spending her entire life taking care of the daughter. Margaret, as a result, works at low wage jobs and she makes barely enough just to get by. Her young boss was ordered to fire her by the upper management attributed to her tardiness. In the following scene, she talks to Dottie and Jean where they try to evaluate the place in which she can get another job (Good People, 59). The meeting between Mike (the doctor/ old flame) and Margaret is a turning point where the play is brought into question problems with regards to individual needs, class, social responsibility, community ideas and the matter of gender and race specifically as they impact the opportunities for financial and social mobility.

Critical Interpretations

The period depicted in the play was one that David recounts. South Boston was one of the neighborhoods that resisted violently the matter of school busing during the mid-1970s. It was a period where there was a series of several protests as well as riots which were carried out in Boston, Massachusetts, that was in response to the Act regarding racial imbalance that made an order to separate the state public schools and desegregate. The legislation was said to have provoked outrage from the White people living in Boston, a conflict that was to last for more than ten years. Out of 100,000 enrolled buses in Boston district schools, the attendance reduced from 60,000 to 40,000. The opponents were attacking Garrity claiming that he was not being affected by the ruling as his children were not going to be impacted by the decision (Lindsay-Abaire 7).

The play reflects the social classes existing in America. Class stereotyping, perceptions, as well as divisions, permeate every different scene as well as every moment. Good people tells a portrait of the white, poor and miserable working class American citizens who are encountering the diverse world of the professional class who live comfortably. The play primarily addresses the problems of class in a familiar and moral theological American framework. There is a particular sense that the accidents occurring at birth can determine the manner in which one is going to live their lives and the theme of ‘luck’ is reflected in the play (Lindsay-Abaire, 6).  The play also strives to encourage people to work hard enough to achieve greater things.


There are no pre-20th-century productions of the play as it started previews on Broadway 2011 which was conducted at the Samuel Friedman Theatre at 8th of February 2011. It later opened at March the same year. It was directed by Sullivan and was starred by McDormand Frances who played Margie. In Los Angeles, an announcement was made that there will be the production of Good People” that will be at the Geffen Playhouse. Other 21st century productions include Saint Louis in 2013, Madison Forward Theater (2013) directed by Jennifer Gray, English Theatre Frankfurt that was led by Michael Howcroft in addition to the Alien Theatre production directed by Laura Kepley in Cleveland (2013).




David Lindsay-Abaire has portrayed an affinity for the female character who are forced to suddenly re-evaluate the different roles by which they are defining themselves. The complicated characters of Lindsay- Abaire have illustrated the difficult choices that people are going to make to achieve various ambitions or even retain their provide and importance of not escaping poverty.

Clients have reviewed the book claiming that it is a broad look at the economic and social disparity that is done with grace and humor that are wrapped within realism. The play is also said to be upon the lives of ordinary people, and it raises several extraordinary questions with regards to the nature of human fulfillment or success. However, some people advice that the play requires several different sets. The play is also great for women who are above 40 years of age (Good People, 89). There are a few alterations made in the play where there is a new gym, new guinea pigs that are used to replace those which had passed on and new computers (McGrath, 57).


The play can be directed and conducted in the campus because there are facilities available for the play. Collections and museums can be used as the sites and props are available, particularly those that depict the pre-21st century periods. The play would be inspirational for the students as they will learn how to put aside their differences despite their various social classes. Our professor may utilize the various details in the works to guide the students through the play.


Works Cited

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Good People, by David Lindsay-Abaire, Directed by Roy Surette. , 2012. Print.

Lindsay-Abaire, David, and Daniel Sullivan. Good People. , 2011. Archival material.

Lindsay-Abaire, David. “Cite A Website - Cite This For Me”. English-Theatre.De, 2013, Accessed 26 Feb 2018.

Lindsay-Abaire, David. Good People. , 2014. Print.

McGrath, Charles. “David Lindsay-Abaire Returns Home With ‘Good People’”. Nytimes.Com, 2011, Accessed 26 Feb 2018.

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