The Struggle is Real

Messy folks comingle in Opal Center’s production of Good People

There are two kinds of people in the world: good people, and self-centered scum who don’t bother to return their grocery carts. The Opal Center’s production of David Lindsay-Abaire’s Tony-winning play Good People features a cast of characters who straddle the line between good and cart-abandoning.  

Director Eliza Roaring Springs and a tight-knit, all-female cast of very talented actors somehow managed to transform a quaint theater in downtown Cottage Grove into blue-collar Southie Boston. The story centers on a single mother, Margie (Tracy Ilene Miller), and her quest to find employment after she is fired from her dead-end dollar-store job. While the play explicitly deals with the frequently inescapable circumstances of an impoverished life, Good People asks us to consider the choices we make that can change the course of our lives.

The result is a tense comingling of messy humans. While Miller is great as the shit-stirring yet deeply sympathetic heroine, it is her interactions with her fellow Southies that really make this play worth seeing. 

Especially colorful are the compulsively snacking and smacking Jean (Kim Fairbairn) and Margie’s “lace curtain” of an ex, Mike (Elizabeth Peterson).  

Good People is uncomfortable, funny and strangely optimistic despite its inherently tragic elements — not unlike the human spirit.

Good People runs through April 15 at Opal Center, 513 Main Street, Cottage Grove; info and tickets at