Is concerned with a family living in a decaying house that is about to tumble down. The fumbling, inept father tries to "communicate" with his children, but settles for listening to tape recordings of the childish games of happier, simpler days; the mother barely thinks or feels anymore, and devotes her days to preparing food; the older son makes listless plans to kill his father; the younger son, slightly retarded, dreams of escaping to the unspoiled wilds of Oregon; and the daughter, a college drop-out, becomes, in an oddly gentle way, the sex object of both father and brother. In the end there are discoveries, and compassion, but also a sense of aching loss of the relentlessness of the fate which the Carpenters have, like betrayed innocents, ordained for themselves.
This highly imaginative and perceptive first play, presented to critical acclaim by the American Place Theatre, probes compassionately into the faltering structure of the contemporary family unit, and finds a disturbing parable for our time. "At its best THE CARPENTERS has an air of Greek tragedy about it…" —NY Times. "…it is exceptionally well written—controlled, sometimes funny, occasionally poignant, and with each character speaking as himself and no one else…" —The New Yorker. "…a play of witty insight and fierce foresight…" —NY Magazine.