It is the story of a family. Bill and Sylvia Donlevy, their children, college aged Carol, high school senior Mike, and nine year old Les. The play opens with Bill and Sylvia preparing to go to a Lodge meeting where he is to be invested with some honor. The baby sitter calls and, alas ,she cannot make it. What to do? It looks like Sylvia will not be able to go. Carol, their daughter, who is away at college, shows up to complain that her parents won't buy her a ticket to a fancy dance, The Donlevy's are not financially well off, in fact they will not be able to keep Carol at the fancy, private college and will expect her to finish at the local state school, especially as Mike will be going to college and he needs to go pre-med to qualify for an exemption from the draft. Carol will be staying the weekend, so she enlisted her to watch Les, Mike already having a date on for that night.
Mike and Les return home greet their sister and much cheerful family teasing ensues. Bill and Sylvia leave, as does Mike. Les calls his friend, Jimmy, to come over and play. Carol receives a phone call from members of her old gang. They have a date for her. She decides to go promising to bring the two boys ice cream as long as they will not tell on her. She leaves. Les and Jimmy begin playing Cowboys and Indians which involves a lot of dangerous play. They light a fire in a trash can, prepare to hang Jimmy, and threaten each other with a kitchen knife, Jimmy's mother Mrs. Herbertson arrives in time to avert disaster.
Bill and Sylvia come home to find Mrs. Herbertson who calls the terrible parents for leaving Les in the care of a 20 year old girl. She leaves in a huff with Jimmy. Sylvia says that they must reprimand Carol. Bill says there is no point. Carol shows up and to prove Bill right shows no sense of guilt or remorse for having left Les alone. She is in a romantic state of mind having just met the All-American, Carl Ruthers and had a wonderful time. She goes to her room and Bill and Sylvia agree there is no way to punish her as she is incapable of learning a lesson. Play ends.
What the!? Very odd, Whatever moral is there is unclear, so I guess this play must exist to inspire discussion, because I believe one could talk about what happened and its implications for some time. It all seems fairly like innocuous family life drama until the end. Then things go suddenly off. There is the strange implication that Mrs. Herbertson is right and that Bill and Sylvia are terrible parents. Also Carol's near sociopathic need to go out once she hears that the boy intended for her is an All-American is very creepy. If these characters weren't so clearly archetypes you could call it an individual quirk. That late 50's, early 60's sexism is back. Unmarried 20 year old "girls" are not to be trusted and there is nothing that can be done about it.
Be back soon,