The term possession can refer to the ownership of a piece of property or an accumulation of things, a crime such as drug possession, self-possession as in identity of who we are or who we belong to, possession of a person as in slavery of one man to another, control of another’s emotions evinced as love and demonic possession, where a spirit controls malevolently. Possession in all its varied contexts is the subject of a world premiere drama “Good Goods” by Christina Anderson, raising the emotional roof of the Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven until Saturday, February 25.
In a mythical town, shrouded in mystery, where an “invasion” occurred sometime in the past, a collection of lost souls congregate in the general store, a store named “Good Goods” for its owner, Mr. Good, Sr. The store’s proprietor Truth (Marc Damon Johnson) watches over every box of Rinso and can of peaches and has done so since he was a lad. But Truth does not own the property. That right by birth belongs to Stacey (Clifton Duncan), the owner’s son, who has been on the road for a decade in a comedy duo with Patty (De’Adre Aziza).
Now Stacey has been back exactly seven days and he is asserting his demands over how the business is run, a domain Truth has controlled and doesn’t wish to abdicate. On the eve of Wire’s(Kyle Beltran) thirtieth birthday, a date he shares with his twin Patty, the stage is set for something sinister to happen. At thirty, Wire, a messenger boy, realizes his life is quickly passing him by and what does he have to show for it. When Patty returns to town with a young bubbly girl Sunny (Angela Lewis) at her side, events are ready to explode.
The remembrance of a vision from the past, that history is about to be made, when a gift of a new drum to Wire disturbs the spirit world, the air is ripe for Waymon (Oberon K. A. Adjepong), who possesses the soul of a priestess, to come to the store and perform his magic. Tina Landau directs a truly talented cast in a theatrical adventure ride. After a slow beginning, the story becomes a hurricane of excitement, with Angela Lewis’s performance at its stirring center.
For tickets ($20-88), call the Yale Rep, 1120 Chapel Street, New Haven (corner of York) at 203-432-1234 or online at www.yalerep.org. Performances are Tuesday-Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees Wednesday and Saturday at 2 p.m.
As the tambourine rattles and the drum beats, discover that “folks need people. That’s how life is,” in this drama where everyone needs to know and learn his own heart.