This collection contains three full-length plays: THESE FLOWERS ARE FOR MY MOTHER, HOLD ME, and HELEN'S PLAY. "Here are some of the things I admire about Michael McGuire as a playwright: He takes chances. He understands that plays should be `about' something. He understands that playwriting must be a socially responsible act. He understands that to be truly entertaining a play must involve us deeply. He understands that each play must have its own identity—its own voice. I wish all playwrights understood this."Edward Albee "McGuire's writing is hauntingly thoughtful, inexorably true."Publisher's Weekly "...events in this play are ordered by a tightly controlled imagination; Mr McGuire's aim is to keep testing the emotional limits of the audience until the last light goes out."D J R Bruckner, New York Times "As with all of Mr McGuire's work, these plays are mysterious, lyric, and full of strange, and often startling surprises."Christopher Martin, Founding Director, C S C Repertory "This is not hit or miss experimentation, but the mature work of an artist with a love for words and a highly developed sensitivity for the theatrical."John Schneider, Artistic Director, Theatre X "As I've suggested, what makes his plays special is their literariness. I don't mean anything like mere rhetoric, but in the theatricality a verbal delicacy of feeling, with nuances of perception that you'd expect to find in more private forms. He was always, in the theater, resistant to those who were dismissing language because they never thought much of it, or even when they did because, in his view of theater, the beginning is the word. That may or may not be true, but if we're going to have language on stage would that more playwrights had as fine a sense of it as Michael McGuire."Herbert Blau, Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee "...People willing to enter [the play's] own special world will certainly find it puzzling but also memorable...it is a different kind of theatrical experience."Clive Barnes, New York Times. THESE FLOWERS ARE FOR MY MOTHER: THESE FLOWERS ARE FOR MY MOTHER is a full-length, four character comedy with tragic overtones. The husband, Adam, and wife, Eden, are locked in a custody battle for their gifted son, Alan, whom the wife believes is in need of her nurturing to realize his potential. While the boy is the master of ceremonies for much of the play, the action seems to center on which parent will get him and whether he will be able to keep himself of a compromise solution involving boarding school and summer camp. Another driving element is the pursuit of Eden by a grotesque of a child psychologist, Dr Wright, who is fascinated by her while being available to either parent as a hired "expert witness". First, Eden is confined in his for-profit sanitorium, then Adam is. Eden, more fragile than she seems, is at risk of losing more than her son because of her drinking (though only the best vintages). The boy, Alan, under his mother's guidance, is learning to write. Indeed, the play itself, may turn out to be his first effort, albeit one that may come too late to be fully appreciated by Eden. HOLD ME: HOLD ME is a contemporary play about stalking. A young woman, being stalked, takes no action. After all, she is only being held in a dark place until she stops struggling, then the perpetrator releases her. When it persists, she decides to take action on her own, learning karate, ending up with a gun in her hand and—shooting the wrong man...who just happens to be the son of a good friend and colleague. The son is a young sculptor whom she has shot in the hands, which she thinks, mistakenly, are the ones that held her. This doesn't give the show away, however, since the play has a strong subplot on the father/son theme...a number of fathers seeking their sons who also happen to be suspects in the stalking tale. The woman, an art teacher before she assumes an identity as `Brandy' the danseuse, having never seen her assailant, has only his grip to go on. hence her directive, when she gets her suspect alone: "Hold me". HELEN'S PLAY: HELEN'S PLAY is set in Chicago, 1940. In the first act, Thomas, a successful playwright, his brother Hal with his wife, Helen, and his son, Tom, wait out a storm in the playwright's luxurious apartment on the Near North Side. The playwright proposes to write a play just for her, his brother's wife. The storm requires them to stay overnight. The next afternoon, still snowbound, Thomas, Hal and Helen visit the rich Pflaum-Smythes upstairs, while their high-spirited daughter, Effi, attempts to make the acquaintance of Tom, the boy, downstairs. The adults descend to witness a reading of Thomas's new play, a story very much like that of Hal and Helen running off to Tahiti years ago, only Tom and Effi rise to play the parts. In the second act, a week later, beginning in Hal and Helen's similar, but much less expensive apartment, Helen returns, burdened with the kind of gifts a lady sometimes accepts, to announce she has the lead in Thomas's new play and the family celebrates. Late that night, a Helen who has been drinking reveals to Tom that the price for being cast was high, followed by a couple of other revelations leading to her midnight departures for Thomas's. At Thomas's, Effi makes an unscheduled appearance in one of her mother's evening gowns to demand the right to sit in on the rehearsals of Thomas's new play. Helen arrives with Hal in close pursuit. Thomas makes a grim announcement. All leave. Thomas sits down to work on his new script, which follow in the last beach scene, the play-within-a-play in which the Plaum-Smythes are reduced to penury, the mental ages of Tom and Effi are more or less reversed, Hal and Helen enjoy the success of a sold screenplay. Thomas, left alone on the beach, fails to bring anyone else on with his directions as a tropical sunset rings down the curtain.