Returning to the grubby North Carolina mill town in which he had grown up, a would-be Hollywood actor, Clyde Owens, rejoins his younger brother, his estranged father, and his frail, sensitive mother, who is dying of cancer. Lionized by his old friends, most of whom now work at the mill, he is treated like a celebrity—although the truth is that his acting career has long since reached a dead end. When Clyde announces that he plans to stay on and take a job at the mill old tensions re-emerge—the disappointment of the mother, who had dreamed of a better life for her son; and the bitterness which Clyde feels toward his mill-hand father, whose coarseness contrasts painfully with the artistic pretensions of his mother. Her death brings the play to its moving climax, in which father and son, if not reconciled, come to a compassionate understanding of their differences and an acceptance of the need to follow their separate paths in life.
Produced by New York's famed Circle Repertory Company, this deeply felt and engrossing work marked the emergence of an important new playwright. Set in a North Carolina mill town, the play focuses on the estrangement of a struggling young actor who returns home to be with his dying mother. "…his play is exquisitely written, some of the surest writing I've come across in a new play for some time." —Women's Wear Daily. "…thoughtful and sensitive probing of the human condition." —Christian Science Monitor. "…he has created a play of outstanding quality, merit, and promise of important future works." —Scriptwriter Magazine.