The central action of the play takes place in an army barracks in a remote Alaskan outpost during the Korean conflict. Restive from boredom and the numbing cold, the men, egged on by a sadistic corporal, turn on Johnson, a "misfit" whose sensitivity and original turn of mind set him apart from the others. As the taunting of Johnson progresses from high-spirited pranks to near cruelty, a second story is unfolded in a small playing area downstage: A young girl, hidden away as she waits out her illegitimate pregnancy, laments the abandonment and indifference of her family and friends. She is Johnson's mother, whose heart-rending plight is echoed and extended in the parallel action of the army scenes, and through the shocking fate which, sadly but inevitably, befalls her son.
Produced by New York's renowned Circle Repertory Company, this absorbing, theatrically innovative play introduced this significant writer to our theater. Centering on the turbulent barracks life in a remote Alaskan outpost during the Korean conflict, it also counterpoints this action with a second theme involving the unwed mother of the young soldier on whom the main action turns. "As acting and as drama it is one of the few unequivocally good nights I have had in the theatre this season…This is a play of style, compassion and thought." —NY Post. "An important new voice in the theatre…" —The Record. "Innocent Thoughts is the best play I have seen in many months. It's the type of thought-provoking, moving theater that I would see again and encourage friends to see." —Suburban Sun Times.