The place is a dormitory room in Leningrad, the time, the "cold war" era of the 1970s. A group of young American exchange students, on hand to study the Russian language and culture, find themselves involved in escapades which, much to the distress of their proctor, bring them in closer contact with the average Soviet citizen (and the K.G.B.) than the authorities desire. While high spirits and cheerful American irreverence predominate, there are also some tense moments when a romantically inclined student decides he wants to marry a Russian girl and bring her back to the States, and when the wimp of the group, fortified by vodka, defaces a statue of Lenin. When their time is up the students are more than ready to head for home, but they are also aware that, along with the Russian language, they have also learned much both about the differences which separate our two peoples and the underlying similarities which, in time, might just make it possible to bridge the gap between us.
Presented Off-Broadway, this perceptive, lively and frequently hilarious play highlights the differences—and similarities—between Russians and Americans as it tells the stories of a group of exchange students during a two-month stint in Leningrad.