As described by The New York Post: "The play is about a starving young painter living in a Greenwich Village loft…He is immediately established as mildly freaky: beer chilling on top of an ice cube, a mat of hair pasted on his chest…The play then moves into a flashback structure, which Schisgal handles with consummate skill, moving back and forth from the present to Brooklyn high-school days, a quick trip to San Francisco and a painfully funny attempt at going straight working in a fish store…Shine is super-buddies with a school classmate, as boys are prone to be super-buddies in high school. A born follower, he is talked into skipping college by his pal, the idea being to become Village painters. Though he has neither an interest in nor a talent for painting, his friend—the ultimate phoney—convinces him that it is possible. So he goes off to paint while the buddy decides to go to college. As it turns out, need I say, the buddy never does become a painter. He goes into his father's real-estate business and marries the girl Shine adored. So the artist holes up in his loft, painting terrible pictures and dreaming about the girls he never gets while satisfying himself with a lovely and quite real prostitute…When the play ends, he is still nowhere—still painting though now relieved of taking himself seriously—and so at last capable of doing something. For Schisgal (and for me) the only thing that counts is what you do. Properly, the ending is neither sweet—though it may seem that way—nor sour. It is merely right and the play of course, is the story of an artist."
This famous Broadway success, which starred Dustin Hoffman as a would-be artist who never quite makes it, is touching, funny, and filled with the wry perceptions which have become a hallmark of the author's richly comic style. "Mr. Schisgal is a brilliant writer of comedy, and his play is filled with delightful things." —NY Post. "…a constant joy in its own distinctive and beguiling manner." —NY Newsday. "…a funny, lovely, painfully gentle play that manages—without being fake, sensitive or psychedelically souped up—to understand just the thinking of today's young people." —Women's Wear Daily.