After announcing at the outset that what follows is his "nightmare," young James Cherry leads us through a series of hilarious and revealing episodes from his life. Awful things keep happening to those around him, and for some reason it always seems to be James Cherry's fault. His grandparents fall down stairs to their deaths; his father is eaten by crocodiles; his sister leaps off the roof. When James goes off to the big city to pursue an acting career, his roommate is devoured by the pig he keeps as a pet; his car is eaten by a large truck; he accidentally shoots his agent during the course of an audition. And through it all James Cherry, innocent, earnest, agreeable—and perhaps doomed without knowing it—goes on trying to piece together the bizarre elements and people of his existence into something reasonable and acceptable. But as his knowledge of what he is up against grows he can only go deeper and deeper into his nightmare—and on to the disintegration that inevitably awaits.
The author's first play, initially presented by the Eugene O'Neill Memorial Theatre Foundation in Waterford, Connecticut, this madcap accounting of the "nightmare" of a precocious (and somewhat paranoid) young man trying to adapt to—and accept—contemporary society, went on to highly acclaimed production at the Forum Theater of New York's Lincoln Center. "…Mr. Wanshel is a comic stylist of considerable distinction…" —Village Voice. "…a fresh, inventive wit and whimsical sagacity…" —Newsweek. "…hilarious horror-scene vision of this real world." —Cue Magazine.