Dig Deeper - Swinging the Set

The Lyric Arts production of Good People closes this Saturday, April 4th and it's the last chance to check out the rotating set design by Eric Gustafson.  The construction is based on the periaktoi, one of the oldest theatrical devices used for multiple rapid scene changes.  A typical periaktoi - from the Greek word meaning "revolving" - consists of a revolving solid triangular prism made of wood.  A different scene is painted on each face, so that, by revolving the periaktoi, you can quickly change locations. Good People (Church Basement) 121514The set for Good People looks a bit like a square divided into four equal triangles centered around a doorway.  As the actors and crew rotate the set, the location changes from an alley to a doctor's office to a kitchen to a living room.  Check out this initial ground plan - a bird's eye view of the set - and see it in action this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Cassandra Proball NEW SQ

 

 

Dig Deeper - Class and Conscience in America

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Class is something I know about.  I’ve lived it every day of my life, and it shaped me in my identity.  --- David Lindsay-Abaire In 2005, The New York Times issued a special section entitled “Class Matters,” in which “a team of reporters spent more than a year exploring ways that class - defined as a combination of income, education, wealth and occupation - influences destiny in a society that likes to think of itself as a land of unbounded opportunity.”  You can find plenty more information at their website and Times Books has published the series in paperback, but here is an excerpt that speaks to the questions of class and conscience raised in David Lindsay-Abaire's Good People now on stage at Lyric Arts.

Day 11:  Up From the Projects - A Success Story That’s Hard to Duplicate

The case of a welfare mother of six pulling herself into the ranks of the middle class is rare enough to compel experts on class and poverty to zero in on a single question: What would it take to create more Angela Whitikers?  (Angela Whitiker, her oldest son, and their struggle towards the middle class were profiled in The Times in 1993. )

“It shows the importance of work and marriage,” said Sara S. McLanahan, a professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton who specializes in family and poverty. “She found a good man and a good job. The thinking now is, it takes both to move out of poverty.”...

The reason is that upward mobility requires what sociologists describe as the twin pillars of success: human capital and social capital. Human capital is a person’s education, job credentials and employability. Social capital usually means emotional support and encouragement from a reliable stakeholder in one’s life, an asset commonly associated with marriage that is itself a form of wealth...

Of the small number of poor single mothers who marry, 56 percent are lifted out of poverty, according to a 2002 study conducted by Signe-Mary McKernan and Caroline Ratcliffe for the Urban Institute. Getting a job is more common, and 39 percent of poor people who are hired rise out of poverty, as against 35 percent who get at least a two-year college degree...

                                                  Cassandra Proball

                                                  Cassandra Proball

Still, the ups and downs of Ms. Whitiker’s middle-class existence show that the transition out of poverty is not an easy one. “As well off as her economic situation is, her success is precarious,” Professor Allen said. “This is a reminder that you can be middle class but in a very unstable situation.”...

Dig Deeper - A Play for Our Time

Good People opens this Friday, March 20th at Lyric Arts and we're in good company.  The world premiere was staged by the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York City and was nominated for two 2011 Tony Awards – Best Play and Best Leading Actress in a Play (Frances McDormand), with the latter winning.  It was almost immediately picked up by theaters such as The Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, Houston’s Alley Theatre, Madison’s Forward Theater and the Milwaukee Repertory Theater.

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With 27 professional productions across the country in one year, Good People was named by American Theater Magazine as the Most Produced Play in the U.S. for the 2012-2013 season.  It was also quickly produced internationally at The English Theatre Frankfurt in Germany (2013) and, after playing at the Hampstead Theatre in London, transferred to the West End’s Noël Coward Theatre just last April.  Check out this insightful comedy of class and culture, a timely tale from Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, David Lindsay-Abaire.