An idealistic young woman, Carol Ann Gates, has spent most of the 1980s in a forlorn quest for love and self fulfillment. After several years in Los Angeles and New York, she accepts an invitation from her older sister, Melanie, to stay with her and her daughter, Patricia, in their native Oklahoma. En route, she misses her connecting flight and encounters Ray, a handsome young man who believes their meeting is no accident and offers to drive her home. She accepts his offer and invites him to stay with her family. While there, Ray has a series of volatile exchanges with John, Melanie's former lover who has re-appeared after six years…and also finds himself falling in love with Patricia, who returns his feelings. He reveals to her that he is on a "mission of great importance," the impact of which only becomes clear in the play's penultimate scene. HEARTS BEATING FASTER takes the audience on a compelling journey through the lives of five incredibly vivid characters, whose fears and dreams mirror the changes that have been taking place in this country—and in ourselves—over the last dozen years.
"…the road taken determines the roads not taken, creating and extinguishing possibility in the same decision…In traveling the pothole-ridden highways of the '80s we finally left the promise of the fresh interstates of the '50s behind. That's the driving force behind HEARTS BEATING FASTER, Ralph Pape's new drama about opportunity, its loss and romanticization, in the previous decade. Pape uses cross-country wanderers loosely knitted together by family and happenstance to add sweep to the play [in which] Carol Ann Gates' riveting third-act monologue takes a fortune-cookie motto—'Mobility is the key to survival in the '80s—and turns it into a road trip of the heart…" —Boston Globe.