The first play, PATIO, is set in the backyard of a middle-class Texas home. Pearl, the younger sister, is preparing a going-away party for her older sister, Jewel, a beautician who is bored with small-town life and is heading off hopefully to the big city. As the two bustle about setting out food and putting up decorations, their conversation reveals progressively more and more of their differences and dreams—and of the emptiness that has pervaded both their lives. (2 women.) In PORCH, the two characters are an ill and crotchety old woman and her restless spinster daughter. As they sit on their ramshackle front porch, complaining of the heat, the meanness of the mother and the aching frustration of the daughter are made vivid through dialogue that, while frequently funny, is also unerring in capturing the quiet desperation that besets them both. (2 women.)
Offering tour de force roles for actresses, this pair of two-character plays provides contrasting, but equally incisive, studies of life in small-town Texas. While the Broadway production featured the same actresses in both plays, the roles can just as easily be divided among four performers. And the two plays, while fitting together smoothly as a double bill, may also be presented individually with equal effectiveness. "If you loved Vanities, you'll love PATIO/PORCH." —NY Daily News. "Heifner provides juicy character parts for women." —Village Voice.