Two men and a corpse are stranded on a roof after a terrible storm. E-Z is a rebellious young man brimming with anger. Malcom is a reformed addict who has found strength through religion. Sharing the roof with them is the corpse of Lowboy—a neighborhood gang member—who drowned in the rising flood waters surrounding the house. Over the course of two stultifying days in the sun, Malcom and E-Z must battle heat, hunger, their pasts and each other. They find inventive ways to pass the time as they wait for help to arrive, but as the hours wear on their situation becomes increasingly desperate. At one point, E-Z is so dehydrated that he hallucinates Lowboy speaking to him from the dead. Soon it becomes difficult to determine what is real and what is not. Ultimately Malcom and E-Z discover their only salvation is through each other. LOWER NINTH is an exploration of faith, survival and mutual redemption.
"Who knew the submerged houses of New Orleans would be so artistically inspiring?…Few modern plays are so completely theatrical. Even in silence, the show feels alive…a miniature universe in which every detail throbs with meaning. And the meaning evolves. After creating such powerful bleakness—and a statement on what happens to the poor in a disaster—the show introduces an alternative. E-Z has a dream in which Lowboy rises from the ground and says Malcolm, who saved his Bible from the storm, can walk on water. But that doesn't mean Malcolm is Jesus. The writing is never so simple, and the religious imagery is more magical than strictly Christian. It gives power to a desperate kind of hope. By the moving conclusion, which can be read as either joyous or futile, we are offered another way to think about the darkness." —Variety. "Willimon always returns to the real, anchoring the play in the two men's boredom, their exhaustion, and their terrible thirst…fine dialogue, with a keen awareness of language and rhythm." —Village Voice. "This slice of magical realism has real dramatic muscle and ironic spark." —Time Out NY.