Review by Blair Godshall of “When We Get Good Again”: Miami University Theatre
The University of Miami (Ohio) Theater Department opens their season with a workshop production ofÂ â€œWhen We Get GoodÂ Again.â€ This new play, by James McLindon,Â recently won Playhouse on the Square’s (Memphis) New Works @ The Works competition and will receive its world premiere next year in January.
Poor, hard working and brilliant college student Tracy (junior Jamie Chmielewski) needs straight Aâ€™s to get into a top law school within 3 years to save money and become a lawyer so she can pay down her college debt.Â Under the tutelage of Perry (Senior Tanner McCormick), a self described â€œacademicâ€ who conducts all business in a coffee shop (where the entire play takes place) Tracy manages to rationalize her job writing term papers for other wealthy students, including Roy (senior Jesse Dever), a hockey player satisfied with coasting through college to simply get a piece of paper and Nadiya (sophomore Jordan Myers), an equally brilliant Ukrainian student who hasnâ€™t yet mastered English. Personal conflict ensues as the characters question: What is truly good? Is it good to not get caught? Are they good enough academically to get by on their own? What does a good person look like? When Tracy is asked the question â€œCan YOU break the rules as long as youâ€™re serving a greater good?â€ both the characters and those viewing the play are forced to ask themselves the same question.
Director Lewis Magruderâ€™s directing never once took away from McLindonâ€™s text and worked well to heighten the stakes of the characters. Itâ€™s clear he took a great deal of time working with the cast to give each character a heart and soul, wants and desires, a body and mind. Todd Stuartâ€™s simple and informative scenic design puts the audience right in their favorite coffee shop and the small details give the audience a lot of information within the cozy space. The cast plays well together and I applaud them for finding the human qualities in their characters. Itâ€™s easy to find something relevant and relatable from each of them. I highly suggest seeing this play because I have a feeling it will soon become a mainstream production that many will want to produce. â€œWhen We Get Good Againâ€ runs Oct 2-6 in Studio 88 at Miami University. tickets are available at http://miamioh.edu/cca/academics/departments/theatre/production-season/index.html.