Ubu’s Other Shoe, the entity behind the ongoing series of reader’s theatre productions staged at the SLO Little Theatre, is still something of a secret among many theatergoers, with its two-day runs and little advertising. And yet this minimal theater group—mostly consisting of director Michael Siebrass and a rotating cast—is already celebrating its ninth season of bringing “fringe” plays to the Central Coast. The next is David Lindsay-Abaire’s Good People, directed by John Battalino, playing Aug. 17-18 at 7 p.m. Admission is $10.
NEW TIMES: What do the plays of David Linsday-Abaire have in common?
JOHN BATTALINO: Well, he really likes rabbits. He wrote Rabbit Hole, and there’s a reference again to rabbits in this play. I think the thread that goes through a lot of his work is accepting who we are. Things happen in life, and sometimes you call it luck, and sometimes you call it divinity.
NT: How would you summarize the plot of Good People?
JB: It’s about Marg Walsh [Gailee Walker Wells], who grew up and still lives in South Boston. Her child is disabled, so Marg has had a pretty rough life. She’s in her 50s. In the opening scene she’s being called into the office of the dollar store to be fired by a 20-year-old Southie boy named Stevie [Brandon Fetzer]. She’s constantly tardy. Marg knows his family, so instantly within the first scene, you get the idea that there is a relationship between Southie people that is kind of communal, they’re both poor and downtrodden. So Marg becomes unemployed. She’s facing eviction. She learns of an old friend she went to high school with, called Dr. Mike [John Geever]. He has a young, beautiful wife named Kate [Lauren Nickie Barnes]. She comes to his office, asks him for a job. He has no job.
There are some issues regarding each person’s view of the past and how they got out of South Boston: him being wealthy, and Marg sort of taken aback that he can’t help her, with all he’s got. And then nice quiet bombs are dropped in there, about Kate and her husband not getting along, and another bomb about the relationship between Dr. Mike and Marg.
NT: What were you looking for in the actors who play Marg and Mike?
JB: There’s so much subtext in this play. We cast it with people who could use the subtext of all the bad luck, or let’s say, the experiences they had, and yet be charging ahead, almost numb.