The action of the play takes place the in borough of Staten Island in the mid-50s. Mrs. Boyd, a divorced practical nurse, makes a living by caring for terminally ill patients, moving from house to house with her sensitive, lonely, teenage son, Chris. As the play begins Mrs. Boyd and Chris arrive at the home of Mrs. Dipardi, who is dying of cancer, and whose profane, hard-drinking son, Floyd, has alienated the neighborhood by flaunting his fondness for young boys and throwing noisy backyard parties. Suffocated by his over-protective mother and rejected by his absent father, Chris strikes up a friendship with Harold, a young hustler who has moved in with Floyd, but their relationship, like the others in the play, founders on the pervading bitterness and alienation which, inevitably, bring on a series of explosive and emotionally charged confrontations. Eventually Chris, unlike the others, does find the self-awareness—and courage—to overcome his circumstances and, as the play ends, the suggestion is strong that he will, in time, come to terms with the "dragons" that have beset, and shaped, his troubled youth.
A powerful and deeply moving study of the destructive effects of lovelessness and loneliness on a sensitive adolescent. Presented to critical and popular acclaim by New York's highly regarded Circle Repertory Company, the play probes unerringly into the unsettled lives of its characters and finds the compassion and simple humanity which circumstances have driven within them. "AMULETS becomes gripping and disturbing…the characters are invariably fascinating…" —NY Times. "…absorbing and vividly written study of mid-50s lower-middle-class alienation and emotional hunger…it's the work of a true playwright." —Variety. "This is the play Williams or Inge would have written if they had been born 30 years later and avoided the sexual repression of their times." —BackStage.