This stunning comic drama, set in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, begins the morning of Teddy Parker's debutante ball, that archetypal phenomenon in Southern culture known as a maiden's "coming out." Teddy's mother, the beautiful and formidable Jen Parker Turner, has willed this event into being. Ostracized from polite society ever since she was accused and—under much speculation and gossip—acquitted of the murder of her wealthy husband, Jen has been looking to Teddy's coming-out gala to revive her and her family's reputation. As the play unfolds, various secrets emerge: an unwanted pregnancy, an illicit romance, self-mutilation, mendacity and murder. Polite facades crumble and ugly truths twist and polka across the ballroom floor. This is a play about the price of secrets and the power that love and lovelessness hold over our lives.
"…THE DEBUTANTE BALL is the blackest of the Mississippi-born playwright's comedies and probably her best." —USA Today. "THE DEBUTANTE BALL…is also blessed with Henley's striking gifts for outrageous theatricality, off-the-wall dialogue and sharply observed character." —The Register. "What is special about [Henley] as a writer—the sudden bursts of simple emotion, the capturing of joy wrapped up in calamity and the comic obsessions with grotesquerie and bodily functions…is abundantly evident." —LA Herald Examiner.