I saw three plays last week.
From the onset, David Lindsay-Abaire’s “Good People” made me squirm. Set in the poor community of South Boston, Margaret gets laid off from her job at the Dollar Store because of her perpetual lateness. Living with her disabled adult daughter she worries about how she’ll pay rent on her apartment. She plays bingo and loses. Then she concocts a scheme to visit a former high school boyfriend, Mike, who became a doctor and lives in an affluent suburb, leaving behind his past. Margaret shows up uninvited first at his office and then his house.
What follows is a sad tale of social class reminiscent of a British soap opera. Is Margaret trying to link her pregnancy to Mike? Did he shirk paternal responsibilities by escaping to college? I won’t reveal the entire plot, or even critique the play, which I liked.
What got me was how it reminded me of Facebook.
A few weeks ago, a high school classmate of mine posted a photograph from our senior year, 1974: the end of school breakfast catered by teachers. We all gathered – mostly already inebriated in some form- at the local beach and after eating, posed for a group photo.
Thirty-seven years later, my classmate wrote: “tag yourselves.”
I had to dig out my yearbook to find my picture; I couldn’t see the details in the small photo. As others began tagging, I realized how few people I even remembered. People were “friending” me I didn’t know then, let alone now. How much did I care? Very little, I realized. I don’t think I have anything to hide, or at least nothing anyone would care about.
Had poor Margaret had access to Facebook, she might have “friended” Mike. They could have conducted a brief message exchange. Then again, she could have become a cyber bully and stalked him.
Raises some questions, I think, about how much we need to know about who “friends” us and how much we want to reveal. Let the past rest.
Observations and opinions about “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark” and “WarHorse” to come.
Anyone interested in writing a guest post, email me.