THE STORY: Now an aspiring young architect in Terre Haute, Indiana, Willum Cubbert has often told his friends about the debt he owes to Rick Steadman, a fellow ex-GI whom he has never met but who saved his life after he was seriously wounded in Vietnam. He has written to Rick to say that, as long as he is alive, “you will have somebody on Earth who will do anything for you” —so Willum is delighted when Rick shows up unexpectedly at his apartment on the night of his thirty-fourth birthday party. But his delight soon fades as it becomes apparent that Rick is a hopeless “nerd” —a bumbling oaf with no social sense, little intelligence and less tact. And Rick stays on and on, his continued presence among Willum and his friends leading to one uproarious incident after another, until the normally placid Willum finds himself contemplating violence—a dire development which, happily, is staved off by the surprising “twist” ending of the play.
One of the funniest plays ever written, this extraordinarily inventive, side-splitting comedy was first presented by the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, then produced in Great Britain, then went on to Broadway. The action centers on the hilarious dilemma of a young architect who is visited by a man he’s never met but who saved his life in Vietnam—the visitor turning out to be an incredibly inept, hopelessly stupid “nerd” who outstays his welcome with a vengeance. “Shue delivers a neatly crafted package that uses some classic comic forms to bring the audience to its knees, laughing.” —The Milwaukee Journal. “…the audience almost never stops laughing—handkerchiefs wiping away tears of merriment…” —Variety. “…a spring tonic of side-bruising laughter…” —The Milwaukee Tribune.