The play takes place in the sitting room of a suite in an expensive Swiss Hotel. Anna-Mary Conklin, an American tourist in her 50’s still stylish and obviously wealthy, is berating a hotel waiter, Felix, to correct the failings in his service. He leaves, promising to do better. She makes a couple of phone calls, one to a stylist to complain about her recent visit, and one to a friend to get etiquette advice regarding the Prince she has invited to the dinner party she is holding that evening. Her husband, Verner Conklin enters from a golfing expedition. The two have a little argument about the coming party.
Verner is not at all interested in high society pretension his wife is so concerned about. Anna-Mary receives an message that Maud Caragnini, an acquaintance with whom she had made a forgotten cocktail date, has arrived. Verner is pleased. He likes Maud more than most of his wife’s mooching, social climber friends. Anna-Mary is dismissive of Maud as a bit gauche. Anna-Mary is half dressed and runs to the bedroom to make herself presentable. Maud enters with Felix who bringing ice. The two know each other from when Felix worked in Rome, where Maud lives.
Verner and Maude share friendly small talk. Anna-Mary enters and, in case there was doubt, shows herself to be two-faced, fawning over Maud and complimenting her for things she had previously mocked. Maud is not impressed by the Prince who has been invited to the dinner party. Verner finds this very amusing to Anna-May’s annoyance, so she sends him to the bar on an errand.
Anna-Mary receives a call from one of her dinner guests, who is canceling due to illness. She pleads, but he won’t be coming. She begs Maud to come but Maud has other plans that can’t be broken. Anna-Mary is indignant. Her solution, to avoid having thirteen at the table, is for Verner to excuse himself from the party and have his dinner alone in the hotel room. She excuses herself to straighten out the place cards leaving Maud and Verner alone. Maud expresses mystification at Verner’s ability to cope with his wife. She confesses a certain affection for him and kisses him on the cheek as she leaves.
Scene two begins later that night. Verner is alone, clearly sitting out the dinner. Felix enters and they chat briefly about Maud. Felix leaves and Verner gets a call from Maud. She is driving back to Rome that night, but she wants to see Verner before she goes. They meet, confess their love, and haggle over the where and what-for of their situations. Verner decides to join her on her trip to Rome. They agree to meet in the lobby twenty minutes. She leaves to get her suitcase from her hotel. Anna-Mary returns, proves she is really unpleasant, and Vernor leaves.
That is a rough outline. It is so well structured and written. The characters are complex and interesting. The dialogue is snappy and funny. There is a clear development, growth, and journey for the characters. I really liked this one.