Growing up with a hard-drinking, absentee father and an emotionally volatile mother who alternated between abuse and affection, Dalton Possett, now a young school teacher, is still affected by nightmares and self-doubt—and finds it difficult to establish a stable relationship with his live-in girlfriend, Teresa. Also, when he is deeply disturbed, the only remedy—as it was in his boyhood—is a gentle back massage, a skill which first his mother and then Teresa have mastered. In fact, Dalton's present is continually haunted by his past, a factor which is vividly projected through the use of parallel scenes, with Daltie the boy and Dalton the man often onstage simultaneously, and with deftly dovetailed dialogue to enhance the effect. Happy and compatible at first, Dalton and Teresa find their relationship growing progressively more troubled as he presses for marriage, so they can have children, and she tries to hold on to their easy-going, informal arrangement and her own career plans. But, as Dalton becomes more distressed, and even violent, he also finds himself coming to terms, at last, with the doubts and confusion which have plagued him since childhood and, in an emotionally (and theatrically) searing scene that the boy, Daltie, and the man, Dalton, finally confront each other directly—with an embrace that holds promise of a future no longer held hostage to the anguish and bitter memories of those early, troubled years.
A highly original and affecting play which blends past and present, through the imaginative use of parallel action, as a young man tries to reconcile his troubled present and his emotionally deprived childhood. First presented Off-Broadway by the renowned Circle Repertory Company. "…Curran projects the pain of his characters forcefully. He writes clear, strong dialogue." —NY Daily News. "…deeply affecting and tartly funny…" —7 Days. "…engrossing and thought-provoking." —The Stage (London). "…this is real theater, poignant and powerful." —WINS Radio.