Having dropped out of college, yet reluctant to tell his friends of his decision, John Bogle drifts aimlessly. He rejects his father's offer to take him into his business; derides his brother for his ambition; teases his younger sister and her muscle-bound boyfriend; and is unable to deal with the illness of his mother, who lies upstairs dying of cancer. Turning aside his family's well-meant interest with flippant humor, or by reading passages from Eugene O'Neill, John's emotions rise to the surface only when challenged by a telling encounter with the sister of his brother's girlfriend and in a poignant reunion with the unappealing girl who had idolized him in his high-school days. But, in the end, John's cool buffoonery breaks down in the face of his family's continued concern, and he undergoes an emotional catharsis, pouring out, at last, the pent-up feelings and uncertainties that had been undermining his attempts to come to terms with life in the youthful present and for the years to come.
Presented by New York's innovative Playwrights Horizons, after earlier productions by the Arena Stage, in Washington, D.C., and the Provincetown Playhouse, in Cape Cod. Taking place at the time of President Kennedy's assassination, the play deftly contrasts the national sense of shock and loss with the emptiness which pervades the life of the young protagonist and his family.