BWW Review: Two Lonely People Briefly Find Connection in GOOD WITH PEOPLE, Presented by Our Shoes Are Red / The Performance Lab
It's never easy to find a true connection with someone else -- it often requires us to put our past behind us and see beyond our prejudices. In David Harrower's two-person drama GOOD WITH PEOPLE, two lonely people, stuck for different reasons in an otherwise empty hotel, manage to bridge many divides and find comfort in each other, at least for a short while. The play is currently being presented by Our Shoes Are Red / The Performance Lab. I caught the preview performance.
The setting is Helensburgh, a small town in Scotland. Evan Bold, who grew up there but has been away for a long time, checks into the hotel run by HeLen Hughes, the mother of a boy Evan used to bully as a child. The chasms between them are many -- they are of different ages and different classes (Helen used to look down on Evan's family), they have different ways of thinking, and, of course, there was the bullying incident. Also, neither of them is particularly good with people, so they must coax not only each other, but also themselves, to come out from behind their tough exteriors. But over the course of the play, they do, and for a night they experience a connection normally lacking in their lives.
The play is beautifully written and the sparse presentation (the set was just a few tables and chairs) suited it perfectly.. There were a lot of cultural references that I had to look up afterward, but the dialogue is brisk, natural, and often funny. The emotions come in at the edges, less in the words the characters say to each other than in their expressions and physical interactions. Devon Allen and Matt DiBiasio were excellent guides through this subtle, but complex work. I left feeling vulnerable and wanting to hold my partner's hand and not let go for a long time.
GOOD WITH PEOPLE runs just under an hour, and it's an hour very well spent. The play runs at Performance Works NW through June 24. More details and info here.