The place is a communal residence in a New England city, where four mentally handicapped men live under the supervision of an earnest, but increasingly "burned out" young social worker named Jack. Norman, who works in a doughnut shop and is unable to resist the lure of the sweet pastries, takes great pride in the huge bundle of keys that dangles from his waist; Lucien P. Smith has the mind of a five-year-old but imagines that he is able to read and comprehend the weighty books he lugs about; Arnold, the ringleader of the group, is a hyperactive, compulsive chatterer, who suffers from deep-seated insecurities and a persecution complex; while Barry, a brilliant schizophrenic who is devastated by the unfeeling rejection of his brutal father, fantasizes that he is a golf pro. Mingled with scenes from the daily lives of these four, where "little things" sometimes become momentous (and often very funny), are moments of great poignancy when, with touching effectiveness, we are reminded that the handicapped, like the rest of us, want only to love and laugh and find some meaning and purpose in the brief time that they, like their more fortunate brothers, are allotted on this earth.
An Off-Broadway success, this very funny yet very touching play focuses on the lives of four retarded men who live in a communal residence under the watchful eye of a sincere, but increasingly despairing, social worker. Filled with humor, the play is also marked by the compassion and understanding with which it peers into the half-lit world of its handicapped protagonists. "THE BOYS NEXT DOOR is one of the most unusual…and one of the most rewarding plays in town." —BackStage. "Griffin's play hits squarely on the truth of life with its constant interplays and shadings of triumphs and tears." —NY Daily News. "THE BOYS NEXT DOOR moves the audience to an awareness of how many things in everyday life we take for granted…" —NY Times.