The place is Nairobi, Kenya, where Dove, a brittle, aging correspondent for Reuters, the British news agency, brings home a young American "stringer" named Neal, who has been expelled from neighboring Uganda for reasons not yet fully explained. Worried about his own position, because of previous negligence, Dove hopes to use the story of Neal's expulsion to his own advantage, and he enlists the services of two black prostitutes to help him get at the truth of what happened. One of the girls, Mary, is a world-wise Kenyan who has become skillful at playing the sexy fool for the white man; the other, Christina, is a former student from Uganda who fled her country after being raped and brutalized by government troops. It is Christina who is delegated to pry Neal's story from him but, as the two exchange confidences, it becomes disturbingly clear that both are idealists who have been defiled—and violated—by the terrors of modern Africa, and neither can betray the other. Eventually the sardonic Dove does learn the truth—that Neal, in his careless reporting of a story about local dissidents, precipitated the massacre of an entire village—but his triumph is a hollow one and, as the play ends, even Dove is sobered by the realization that he, and his fellow Europeans, have done little to alleviate and much to exacerbate the failings that they now so smugly and cynically report to the world beyond.
A provocative, disturbing and theatrically vivid examination of the ills which plague present-day black Africa—and the responsibility which the white race must bear for the shortcomings it now so self-righteously deplores. First produced by the noted Long Wharf Theatre, in New Haven, the play makes compelling use of a particular incident to illuminate problems which, by extension, have become of concern to civilized society throughout the world. "…the best new play Long Wharf has produced in years, and perhaps the best new play of the season." —Hartford Courant. "…a reverberant ending that embraces many a moral question, including that of the incalculable toll the white race has taken on Africa." —Variety. "…a searing and penetrating play." —West Hartford Community.