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First Person

Playwright David Lindsay-Abaire’s take on Southie

The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer examines his hometown with ‘Good People,’ at the Huntington Theatre through October 14.

David Lindsay-Abaire, now living in Brooklyn, is best known for his play “Rabbit Hole,” which was made into a movie.

Peter Foley/Globe file/2011

David Lindsay-Abaire, now living in Brooklyn, is best known for his play “Rabbit Hole,” which was made into a movie.

There are a lot of reasons I never wrote about Southie until now, but the short answer is I WAS TERRIFIED. You love and care about these people deeply, and you don’t want to misrepresent them. We get offended easily, and justifiably, when the stories being put out there are that we’re all criminals and racists.

The reason I finally wrote Good People is because I kept hearing people say how BRITISH PLAYWRIGHTS WRITE ABOUT CLASS. That’s something that is so present to me. It’s something I thought about coming from Southie and my own history at 11 years old getting a scholarship to Milton Academy, where I got introduced to a class of people so different than the ones I grew up with.

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I NOW HAVE TWO SOUTHIE PLAYS that are in my head that I want to write. And because the neighborhood is changing so much, there’s more of an engine behind my need to write about it. “Quick, preserve the neighborhood as you remember it, before it goes away entirely.” That change has to be in there, but I’d like to document my version of it. For better or worse, it’s becoming so gentrified. The neighborhood is just a totally different place. It’s not that insulated island it was.

It’s going to be special to have a play at the Huntington Theatre. MY DAD WAS A FRUIT PEDDLER, and he had this one spot that was diagonal across the corner from the Huntington. I worked there several summers selling peaches. It’s weird for me, having spent so much time looking over at it, to actually have a play inside. It’s a weird, funky kind of feeling.

— As told to Billy Baker. Interview has been condensed and edited.
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