Two years ago the Widow's husband, a fireman, died in a burning building trying to save a baby. Instead of grieving, she keeps his Soul in a box in her bedroom and takes it out for conversation and the occasional hug. She and the Wooer, a friend of her husband, go on a date—one that he has been looking forward to for years. While they are out, the Soul and the Body play out moments from their life with the Widow, and their death. Finally, the Widow decides to let her husband go; she puts the body in the ground where it belongs and watches the Soul ascend to heaven. Instead of accepting new love from the Wooer, she walks into a field of marigolds, the flowers that have come to symbolize both her husband's love and his imperfection.
"[Haidle is] able to turn the internal dramas of of the psyche into thrilling stage pictures…Haidle manages to show, with terrific theatrical panache, how we fictionalize our memories of love, idealizing the lost one and repressing the negative…shrewdly innocent, poignant dialogue…VIGILS is the work of a sophisticated playwright." —The New Yorker. "A simple, sweet exploration of human memory and grief…Haidle displays plenty of gentle humor, and also capable craft…[he] brings a fundamentally theatrical imagination." —Variety. "Charmingly life-affirming…positive comic energy…[a] generous take on human frailty…the play never stops spreading goodwill." —Washington Post. "A wise, zany, bittersweet, sexy play, with much to say about matters far beyond Sept. 11 (a date that hovers only in the subtext)…How can we say goodbye and let go, even to something that was far from ideal? How do we cope with all the idealization and guilt that can follow loss? These are the questions that Haidle's play grapples with so beautifully and sensitively, though those expecting a dark weeper will happily be tripped up by the often hilarious yet truly heartbreaking comedy he has devised." —Chicago Sun Times.