The scene is a small town in South Carolina, where Hodge, a Vietnam veteran, shares his house with Vernie, his childlike girlfriend, and Sheryl, the widow of a talented but obscure novelist and a close friend of his late mother. Nervous and unsettled, Hodge continually castigates Vernie, no matter how hard she tries to please him, and also derides Sheryl, although she is old and wise enough to try to turn a deaf ear to his rantings. The arrival of his Army buddy Richard, who now manages a bookstore in New York City, further aggravates Hodge's unruliness, as though to somehow make him even more aware of the fact that the "good life" has passed him by. Richard is accompanied by his mentor and lover, Carolyn, a sleek and sexy lady whose bantering rapport with Richard, and evident concern for Vernie and Sheryl, also point up Hodge's own lack of grace and learning. Eventually Vernie, finding her own voice through the help of the others, threatens to leave Hodge, whereupon his defiant facade finally begins to crumble—giving promise that he will try, at last, to temper his inability to relate meaningfully to the world and to curb his compulsion to strike out at those who seek to offer him the only solace that he is destined to know.
A regional theatre and Off-Broadway success. Concerned with the tensions and insecurities of male "machismo," the play blends humor and explosive action as it illuminates a crisis point in the lives of a group of people brought together by circumstance and mutual need. "The dialogue is firmly in character and creates a vividly heightened reality…makes the idea of theatre come alive." —Cue Magazine. "…the whole play has a rough and tender vitality…" —NY Post.