The first play, OUTLANDERS, is set in a small failing cafe, whose embittered megalomaniac owner hopes to create a new liqueur which will lure back the customers who have been lost to a rival establishment. Harassed by his invalid wife, who bangs impatiently on the ceiling to gain his attention, and bedeviled by the townspeople, who have turned against him, Askanius retreats increasingly into his delusions and the dream of the triumph which his magical elixir will bring. In the end his creation turns out to be poisonous—but Askanius, in a final act of desperate defiance, willfully drinks it down. (3 men, 1 woman.) In the second play, WORMWOOD, Marika, the wife of a famous but burnt-out writer, Ossian Borg, is invited by a fellow art student to visit the dingy back room of a disreputable tavern where her husband had created his most celebrated works. The owner of the tavern (who had shared in the royalties from Borg's writings) senses a way to revive Borg's creative energies by summoning him with an invented story of an affair between the young student and Borg's wife. But their confrontation, oddly enough, has a different result when it is Marika who comes to realize that it is she who must escape their failing marriage and gain the freedom to pursue her own artistic destiny. (3 men, 1 woman.)
Based on prose works by August Strindberg, these two richly theatrical short plays capture the macabre intensity and sense of spiritual devastation so characteristic of the writings of the great Swedish master. First presented by Off-Broadway's Theater for the New City. "The language and tight construction of these two one-acts which make up ZONES OF THE SPIRIT ought to add to Gray's reputation as an inventive and thoughtful playwright." —Village Voice.