As the play begins Mona Kale, an exuberant and good-natured sort, is in the dock, accused of murdering her lifelong friends Alan and Annabelle, two old high school sweethearts who were so deeply enamored of each other that, in their youth, they nearly pined away when they were parted by separate summer camps. The prosecution claims that Mona did away with her friends because they were too happy, and in revenge for her own crushing loneliness, but Mona's defense is that it was love, not she, that killed them—a love so perfect and overpowering that it carried the seeds of its own destruction. Needless to say the media have a field day with the case, with the evening TV news offering its viewers a number to telephone (fifty cents a call) to vote on Mona's guilt or innocence, with a verdict provided at the end of the newscast, and with Mona herself becoming a national symbol for the lonely (and the insane). But as the play alternates between events and people of the present and those of the past, the truth of what Alan and Annabelle's real relationship had become is gradually (and often hilariously) revealed. In the end it is the audience that becomes the jury and is left to wrestle with the position and pertinence of love, sex, ideals and other such components of life in our so often disjointed modern world.
Initially presented in New York by the Ensemble Studio Theatre, this first full-length play marked an important point of development in the career of one of our theatre's most original and resourceful young writers. Surreal in style, the play uses black humor and heightened theatricality to comment on the absurdities of modern life—and the people it has produced.