A brilliant surgeon and cancer researcher, Sam basks in the aura of success and adulation that his career has brought him. But suddenly his world is shattered when his longtime nurse and confidant, Mavis, dies on the operating table because he failed to detect the seriousness of her condition in time. Gathering up his neglected wife and possessively loved son, he returns to the home of his aging father, a revivalist preacher with whom he has long been at odds. Guilty about his relationship with Mavis, his childhood sweetheart whose love he never returned, and jealous of his father's affection for her, Sam finds that the older man is unable, or unwilling, to assuage the guilt that torments him. In essence the play becomes an eloquent, deeply felt debate about the conflict between science and religion—Sam's growing doubts about the values he has lived by and his father's flinty unwillingness to relax his own strongly held beliefs. As the play ends there is a tentative reconciliation between father and son, with love and self-knowledge mitigating, but not resolving, the alienation which their differing perceptions, and uncertainties, have forced on them.
A moving, richly imaginative work, which probes into questions of human responsibility and guilt, and the continuing conflict between the scientific and the spiritual. "TRAVELER IN THE DARK has emotional power, an insight into men that matches Norman's previously demonstrated understanding of women, and a hearteningly grand ambition." —Time Magazine. "…in TRAVELER Norman gives rein to the full power of her literate, philosophical and poetic gifts." —Hollywood Reporter. "…bittersweet and totally engrossing…" —Drama-Logue.