In this play, which represents "Sloth" in Wilder's projected cycle on The Seven Deadly Sins, Herb Hawkins, a jovial New Jersey - New York City commuter with iron-bound habits, has called to say he is coming home late. This news sets his wife and daughter on edge, a condition heightened when a neighbor informs them that an unidentified man is hiding in the shadows of their front lawn, staring in at them. The police arrive to arrest the supposed prowler, only to find Herb, quietly observing his family through the windows of his own home. It seems that earlier that day, he received word of a surprise inheritance, left to him by a kind, lonely elderly woman. This sudden gift of a large sum of money prompts Herb to question the meaning and purpose of his own life. He returns to his place in the family with touches of humor, irony and despair.
"Because so many of the plays we see nowadays are really suited to the small screen, it is easy to forget that a stage, no matter its size, can contain the cosmos. No one understood this better than Thornton Wilder, whose plays show us how to see the infinite in the utterly mundane." -Howard Kissel, New York Daily News