In a small town in Western Massachusetts, the Lawrence family struggles with poverty, boredom and lost potential. Into this isolated town comes Ellen, a highly educated, wealthy and well-traveled young woman who wants to give back to her country through education. She starts teaching in the public high school where Billy and Rachel Lawrence go, and she develops an obsession with Billy's intelligence, insight and potential. Her obsession and desire to lift Billy out of poverty tears the family apart.
"In Thurber's world, sex is less a quest for pleasure or an expression of love than it is the retardation of emotion. And this is where Thurber makes her mark as an artist: She shows us how some parents would rather keep their offspring in their muck than allow them an opportunity for advancement…Thurber belongs to a generation of young female playwrights…all of whom grew up watching shows like Roseanne but were able to peel away the laughs and reveal the ugly lives beneath." —The New Yorker. "Thurber writes with both humor and pathos about this household, whose family values of love and loyalty are constantly put to the test in an environment of poverty, ignorance and casual violence. Behind the snappy dialogue and brazenly comic characterizations, she also shows genuine tenderness toward people who rarely get that kind of treatment on the stage." —Variety. "A gripping new play. Anybody seeking a sizzling hunk of red-blooded American realism should grab this show. Thurber develops her characters with a compassionate eye and a sense of real-life humor…a thoroughly absorbing experience." —Star-Ledger. "…[an] engrossing look at ambition and ambivalence on the wrong side of the tracks…an uncomfortable yet eminently watchable Northeastern Gothic…SCARCITY has strong, messy, vibrant characters…[whose] motivations remain pleasurably inscrutable…and the overall impression is of a messed-up family being true to one another in their fashion." —NY Sun. "SCARCITY stakes an early claim to the title of the best political play of the 2008 campaign…a bracing and compelling portrait of Middle America in crisis." —Talkin' Broadway. "…a disturbing yet compelling picture of contemporary life in the lower depths…the story plays out with affecting grittiness…Thurber is an unflinching observer of the lifestyle of an all-too-large underclass in a society that has always defined itself as classless." —CurtainUp. "Thurber illuminates not only the pathos of Billy and his family's world, but also the humor of it…an honesty that is pungently compelling." —AmericanTheaterWeb.com.