Magazine article American Theatre

To Have and Have Not

Magazine article American Theatre

To Have and Have Not

Article excerpt


Stick Ply to Becky Shaiv and Detroit, American playwrights suddenly seem to be grappling with the issue of class--and our "haves-and-have-nots" Zeitgeist. Perhaps no play exemplifies this micro-trend better than David Li ndsay-Aba ire's Tony-nominated Good People, which ran at the Manhattan Theatre Club last season and goes up at the Geffen Playhouse beginning April 3 under Matt Shakman's direction.


As the recession deepened in 2009, Lindsay-Abaire kept hearing the question, "Where are the new American plays about class?" While class is a frequent preoccupation of British dramatists, the American theatre has largely shunned the thorny topic in recent decades. Still, Lindsay-Ahaire says, "I had no interest in writing one of those didactic plays that rattle the saber and say, you know, that die system is broken and stacked against poor,. ... working-class America."

Tackling a play about class, he realized, would dovetail with another subject he

wanted to explore--his own roots in Boston's working-class South Boston enclave. It's a world that, he says, he'd "frankly been scared to write about before ... because I felt a very deep respect and responsibility toward the people there."

Indeed, as a brainy and creative 11-year-old growing up near the Old Colony housing-projects in "Southie," Lindsay-Abaire earned a scholarship from the Boys & Girls Club to attend Milton Academy, a tony prep school. Every day, he walked to the subway past the winos and drug addicts to arrive in a posh world to which he had to adjust "I lived inside both those worlds every day for six years. …

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