The first play, JULIET, explores the debate between an intense and brilliant young director and his temperamental leading lady about their differing interpretations of Ibsen's Ghosts. He wants to do the play "straight"—exactly as written by the master; while she insists on inserting an upbeat ending to relieve "all that Scandinavian depression." But his reasoned arguments that no grown man's mother would act as the actress suggests are unexpectedly challenged by the sudden appearance of his own mother, a lonely older woman who ironically proceeds to give the lie to his theories. (2 men, 2 women.) The second play, YANCEY, deals with a painfully shy country boy who finds that he can hold his own against a pair of brittle New York actors. Exploring ideas of cruelty and personal courage the play becomes, in the words of the Louisville Courier-Journal, "…fifteen minutes of riveting theater." (2 men, 1 woman.) The final play, APRIL SNOW, is a deeply felt study of love and loneliness involving an aging writer and the women who have figured most significantly in his life—one of his four ex-wives, and a young protégé, forty years his junior, who rekindles his long-lost passions. But, as this bittersweet comedy makes eloquently clear, old wounds are slow to heal, and happiness can be the most elusive—and illusory—of human conditions. (4men, 2 women.)
Further evidence that Mr. Linney is a master of the one-act play form, these brilliantly imaginative works make a particularly effective triple bill or, as the author suggests, can be separated and matched with any other of the numerous Linney short plays already in the Play Service catalogue. All three plays have enjoyed successful productions in New York and/or by the nation's leading regional professional theatres. "APRIL SNOW is probably the best play I've seen in New York all year." —The New Yorker. "The writing has Mr. Linney's customary intelligence, as well as a mysterious, enigmatic quality." —NY Times. "I wished the Ensemble [Studio Theatre] would undertake an entire Romulus Linney festival. He is wonderful." —The Nation.