The play is set in Omaha in 1980. Ric, in his late twenties, delivers pizza, writes mangled poetry, drinks too much and loves his wife. His obsessive jealousy drives Beth to temporary refuge in her mother's home, where he follows for a clumsy confrontation. Beth's last desperate effort to touch Ric provokes him to awkward, befuddled violence. Her mother finds her dead. But the play's focus is on the mother, Rosie, a bookkeeper in her fifties. Once the victim of an alcoholic, abusive marriage, she now carries on a liaison with Les, an affable used car dealer who had helped her through hard times, joked her out of depressions, but who won't divorce his wife. She clings to religion, then numerology, groping for something to believe in. She finds it in Beth's death, coming by degrees to an overwhelming faith in Ric's innocence. Fabricating her own reality, she ejects Les, gets herself fired, hires a lawyer for Ric and lies at the trial, slandering her daughter to obtain his acquittal. Not even his blunt statement of the facts can shake her belief. The ending is grotesquely happy: a short epilogue sees a new job for Rosie, electronics school for Ric and the past erased.
First produced by the Actors Theatre of Louisville, where it shared first prize in the Great American Play Contest, then presented by the Circle Repertory Company in New York City, this powerful play has gone on to widespread success in the leading regional theatres and abroad. A gripping, incisive and sometimes shocking depiction of lost hopes and the violence which these can engender, the play pulls no punches as it delves into the underside of life in a seedy trailer park in middle America. "This is unquestionably the most powerful work of drama which I've seen in years…" —LA Weekly. "…a stage full of characters who scorch our minds and imaginations." —The Hollywood Reporter. "FULL HOOKUP is a nightmare vision of hell, a world of live wires snapping murderous sparks at all its inhabitants." —Dallas News. "…devastating theatre…" —Dallas Times Herald.