Spokesman: ‘Good People’ runs for three weeks at Spokane Civic Theatre

As a professional voiceover actor, Deborah Marlowe has a leg up when it comes to mimicking regional accents. Her soothing, trusted tones can be heard nationwide, portraying dramatic characters in video games, selling breath fresheners and house cleansers in commercials, and narrating art museum tours and nature films, just to name some of her professional voicework.

Even more impressive, Marlowe can produce sought-after sounds for her corporate clients all from her high-tech home studio in her 1904-era house in Spokane.

A Buffalo, New York, native, Marlowe has lived all over, including Chicago, Dallas, Houston and Los Angeles. Residing in different cities in so many U.S. regions has brought an authenticity when it comes to Marlowe’s accent work. She and her musician/singer husband Bob, who attended Whitworth University, have maintained close friends in Spokane, and made the big move to Eastern Washington from Los Angeles four years ago.

Since arriving in Spokane, Marlowe has hit the ground running, doing star turns as a no-nonsense editor in Spokane Civic Theatre’s “Lifespan of a Fact,” a conflicted college administrator and mother in Stage Left Theater’s “Admissions,” a narrow-minded neighbor in Civic’s “Native Gardens,” and a queen in Spokane Shakespeare Society’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

“There are some exciting and new things happening in the Spokane theater world,” Marlowe said. “I am very happy to be a part of this growing community.”

Marlowe’s secret voiceover super-power has come in handy while preparing for her latest role, that of native Bostonian Margaret “Margie” Walsh in “Good People.” Directed by Marianne McLaughlin, “Good People” is a play that explores the class divide and the choices and circumstances that can help move people forward or hold them back. The show opens Friday and runs three weekends in Civic’s Studio theater, through Sunday, Feb. 4.

Margie is an unemployed single mom struggling to find a way out of poverty and her tough South Boston Neighborhood. Many a Hollywood actor has tried and failed to master the infamous and “wicked” South Boston accent. But it’s a necessary skill with a play like “Good People,” in which the neighborhood itself is almost its own lurking character, a place where some grow up to escape and others never want to leave.

Playwright David Lindsay-Abaire was raised in Southie, so his love and respect for the people of his old working class, Irish-immigrant neighborhood keeps the characters genuine, flawed, and very funny.

“A dialect isn’t always necessary in a theatrical production, but because the Southie dialect makes up an integral part of these characters’ identity, and to realize the playwright’s vision, I had the cast work with a dialect coach,” director McLaughlin said.

“There’s no South Boston without the Southie accent,” Marlowe said.

The play begins with Margie, a mother of a mentally disabled adult daughter, getting fired from her job at the Dollar Store and facing eviction. She hears that an old flame named Mike, played by Thor Edgell, has moved back to town and is now a successful doctor, so she sets her sights on asking him for a job.

The scenes between Mike and Margie are as awkward, comedic and painful as any reunion of old lovers who made different choices in life could be.

“What will Margie risk to get what she needs and how will the self-made man Mike respond with being forced to investigate his past?” McLaughlin asked. “Both characters are stripped bare emotionally, but with a good deal of humor, pathos and love by all the wonderfully drawn characters around them.”

The characters surrounding Margie include: Stevie, Margie’s much younger boss, played by Read Shirley; Dottie, Margie’s salty landlady, played by Pam Kingsley; Jean, Margie’s sympathetic friend played by Scarlett Hepworth; and Kate, Mike’s upper-class wife, played by Rachae Thomas.

The class divide is in-your-face and personal in this play, but never judgmental. Why does one individual get out and achieve while another is left behind to falter? Was it luck, work ethic, gender or family support that made the difference? What makes a person “good” or “bad”? There are no obvious answers among the characters, and the audience’s allegiances may shift throughout the play.

“To me, the play is about the choices we make in life and the choices we appear to make in life,” Marlowe said.

“You won’t be able to leave after watching this play without seeing a little of yourself or someone you know in these characters,” McLaughlin said. “I would hope the audience goes on this roller coaster ride with them.”


If You Go

‘Good People’

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through Feb. 4.

WHERE: Spokane Civic Theatre, 1020 N. Howard St., in the Studio theater

INFO: (509) 325-2507; spokanecivictheatre.com


Article by Audrey Overstreet

Photos by Ryan Wasson

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