The time is Mardi Gras, the place a New Orleans funeral parlor. As the action begins, in a wildly farcical scene, a bereaved family, accompanied by a young priest, is reviled and driven away by the irate funeral director—a man who, while dealing with death, can only regard it with ridicule and disdain. As it happens the funeral director, a widower, has a young daughter who, born with a damaged heart, is doomed to an early death, and his apparent brusqueness is the only and best way he knows how to prepare her for her fate. Moved by her plight the fledgling priest attempts to offer spiritual guidance to the frail girl, and a gentle, romantic attachment grows between them, despite the father's objections. Eventually the girl, accompanied by the priest and her father's best friend, an alcoholic doctor, realizes her dream of going out into the world—and to Mardi Gras. It is for her a crowning happiness. But it is also a final one—a journey away from death and yet to death, and to a release which all who cared for her may now share.
Chosen to inaugurate the Bicentennial Season of American Plays at Princeton's McCarter Theatre (N.J.), this arresting, darkly humorous and highly original play introduced this writer to our theatre. "Mr. Gold has written a richly textured play full of certain density, surprising in the strength of its emotions, rewarding in the range and scope of its imagination. Undoubtedly Mr. Gold is a playwright to be reckoned with." —NY Times. "At 25, Lloyd Gold shows a genuine feel for drama…and the McCarter has a small gem on its hands." —Time Magazine.