The place is a small American town. The time 1900. As the play begins the characters enter and seat themselves in a semi-circle of antique chairs. The last to enter is the Woman, who carries a ledger (her journal) from which she starts to read. It is quickly evident that the journal is not only a record of the Woman's daily life, but also a measure of her intellectual and emotional growth as she copes with the trials and tribulations with which she and her family are beset. As her story unfolds, the various characters involved in each episode leave their chairs and enter the action, while the others watch in silence. The Woman is sorely tried as she loses one daughter to a bungled abortion, another to a brain tumor and a son to TB. But, despite all, she manages to grow in learning and strength of character; to deal with her husband's descent into alcoholism; to forgive the young doctor whose clumsiness caused her daughter's death; and to accept the malevolence of her surviving son, who holds her responsible for the tragedies which the family has suffered. In the end the play is a study in compassion, determination and the indomitability of the human spirit—soaringly depicted through the character of a simple, unschooled woman who, in coming to terms with herself, and her life, was able to achieve a freedom and sense of being that her "betters" would never know.
A lyrical, moving and deeply felt study of a simple, God-fearing woman who surmounts a life beset by tragedy and disappointment to find self-recognition and fulfillment. Based on the author's novel, SLOWLY, BY THY HAND UNFURLED, and first produced by the Denver Center Theatre Company, the play combines starkly simple staging and choreographical movement to achieve its stunning impact. "…it's an exquisite piece of playwrighting—streets ahead of the average stuff you see around town." —NY Post. "A WOMAN WITHOUT A NAME is a hauntingly moving ode to an unusual human being." —Denver City Edition. "It's the kind of play that leaves you awed, pensive and affected." —KVOD Denver. "…stimulating and absorbing." —Variety.