Coming together for the funeral of their father (whom they all detested and, on occasion, tried to kill off) three bothers assemble at the family homestead in rural Texas. The eldest, Darryl, is a thrice-divorced ne'er-do-well who relishes the memory of having forcibly introduced his siblings to the world of aberrant sex; Big Boots, the middle brother, is a confused and threatening type who has been serving a jail sentence for strangling his wife; while Tommy Joe, the youngest of the three, is a "sensitive" sort who gives piano lessons and has been looking after Little Boots, his brother's young son, during the latter's stay in prison. Completing the cast are Charlene, the town bawd, whose favors all the brothers have shared, but who now believes that she is on the verge of a permanent relationship with Tommy Joe; and Sarah, the recently widowed (and now pregnant) housemaid who has also conceived a desperate, but unrequited, passion for Tommy Joe. Trouble looms when Big Boots, who now earns his living massaging males in Dallas, demands the return of his son, much to the distress of his brother. Questions of sexual confusion arise hilariously from the rowdy, macho confrontations which ensue, and long-standing resentments test whether blood is, indeed, thicker than water. In the end, however, a sort of tenuous truce is achieved, with passions still simmering but with the reassuring hope that family feeling will, in the long run, bring order out of the antic chaos which still reigns as the curtain falls.
Highly irreverent, and wildly funny, this picaresque comedy centers on the tempestuous reunion of three Texas brothers ("rednecks" all) who assemble for the funeral of their late (but hardly lamented) father. A regional theatre favorite, which was given its premiere production at the famed Dallas Theater Center. "…the kind of play that may have you laughing all through the evening…" —Variety. "It's difficult to describe the production without gushing superlatives, but the words zany, hilarious, and delightful come quickly to mind. Mr. Hailey's bountiful comic script is as thought-provoking as it is amusing." —Wesport (CT) News. "Hailey's play proved to be a raucous jape of people with five-ounce brains hidden beneath ten-gallon hats. The rowdy manner of KITH AND KIN conceals a heart-warming faith in families." —Time Magazine.