After their plane crashes, Phyllis, and her son, Bishop, are stranded on a desert island for five years. During their stay, Bishop is transformed from a stuttering, Katherine Hepburn-obsessed little boy, in to a feral savage who eventually rapes his mother. Phyllis devolves from a glib, callused sophisticate to a helpless, addled shell. Left to fend for themselves, they dine on the bodies of those less fortunate and eventually become lovers. At home, we see Howard, Phyllis' husband and famous movie director, continuing life with his somewhat loopy, ex-porn-star mistress, Pam. Pam moves in with Howard and becomes pregnant. In Act Two, Bishop and Phyllis return to civilization, but their savage lifestyle is not easily shed. All four characters live together, walking on eggshells around Bishop, who now is barbarous beyond reason and has amassed an incredible shoe collection to impress his mother. Pam is reduced to pretending she is the domestic help and is rapidly growing tired of it. Howard is too burdened with guilt to act on anyone's behalf. Phyllis reaches out to Pam and confides that she and Bishop are lovers, but before Pam can convey this to Howard, she is killed by Bishop, who proceeds to eat her. When Howard discovers this, he too pays the price and becomes dinner for Bishop and Phyllis. In Act Three, Bishop is being treated in a hospital for the criminally insane. He is haunted by his mother's ghost and pursued by a demonically cheerful fellow inmate. He refuses to accept what the doctors know to be true, that he killed Phyllis. Finally, as the walls between past and present break down in Bishop's mind, he confesses to his matricide. We see the scene where Phyllis asks Bishop to murder her. Bishop remembers his mother's recurring dream about a three-hundred-pound transvestite. This monstrosity multiplied in her dreams and became several fat men in skirts, in cages. It is the acceptance of this memory that may allow Bishop to heal, moving forward and understanding the relationship between love and harm.
"…very, very funny…a deep and anguished vision. Silver never met a pain he couldn't laugh at." —Washington Post. "…Mr. Silver shows us how thin the line is between normality and freakishness. It's a lesson worth heading, imparted with genuine hilarity." —Washington Times. "If FAT MEN IN SKIRTS weren't so funny, it could never reduce you to tears." —National Public Radio.