The scene is the Morley farm, in the prairie country of Saskatchewan, Canada. Margaret and Walter Morley have been estranged for fourteen years, ever since his encounter with a "water witch" resulted in the arrival of his illegitimate daughter, Lily Agnes, and led to Walter's banishment to the smokehouse. Margaret has remained in the main house, with Lily Agnes (whom she has raised as her own), and her father, Gramps. They are joined for the summer by Gibson McFarland, Gramps' adopted son, now a college professor, who is recovering from a mild nervous breakdown. Gibson's return reopens old wounds and desires, and it is soon apparent (and so reported by two gossipy bachelor neighbors) that Margaret's needs for culture and affection are now being satisfied at last. As summer wanes so must the idyll of Gibson and Margaret, but her transgression, in Walter's eyes, evens the score between them—and as the play ends it is clear that the Morley household, so long divided, will once again know the harmony and love that anger and stubborn pride have so long denied.
First presented by the noted Long Wharf Theatre, in New Haven, Connecticut starring Colleen Dewhurst, and then produced in New York by the Manhattan Theatre Club, this touching and funny play offers a warm-hearted glimpse into the lives of a Canadian farm family coming to grips, at last, with a long-standing internal crisis. "Joanna M. Glass is a major new playwright from Canada, and the New York premier of this script is a time for cheers and celebration. She is an original, and she mixes laughter and sadness in unexpected ways." —Record. "…a poignant, absorbing, and often exhilarating play, beautifully written by Joanna Glass…" —Variety. "In ARTICHOKE Joanna Glass has written a haunting play about coming to terms with life." —Christian Science Monitor.