The action of the play takes place in the storefront studio/flat of Leona, a budding young San Francisco painter whose estranged husband, Will, has gone off and left her with the responsibility of raising their ten-year-old son, Jacob. Now Will, an itinerant geologist, has suddenly returned, claiming that he is a changed man who wants to reunite his family and take them off to Mexico. But, in Will's absence, Leona has begun to create a new life: Her career is beginning to build; and she has a new boyfriend, Peter, who is as sensitive and thoughtful as Will is selfish and irresponsible. Yet Leona is still drawn to the handsome Will, resulting in a tug of war in which Jacob becomes the innocent pawn with the most to lose. Retreating to his loft bed (Jacob's ladder) the boy ponders his situation, while his mother reluctantly accepts the truth that divorce is the only way to protect what she has struggled to achieve. In the end Jacob, moved by his father's pleas, decides to go off with him to Mexico—at least for a trial period—leaving Leona, once again, to grapple with the task of building a stable life out of the discord created by the unfortunate behavior of others.
A lively, moving and provocative study of contemporary family relationships, and the trauma that results when a marriage is sundered by desertion and divorce. First presented by New York's famed WPA Theatre, the play has become a favorite with leading regional theatres across the country. "It details the fragmentation of one nuclear family in a way that can't be diagrammed or charted; it can only be empathized with." —Marin (CA) Independent Journal. "…a sexy, witty, contemporary comedy of manners with lots of audience appeal." —Pacific Sun. "Crackling good stuff!" —Marin Scope.