THE STORY: The play takes place on Labor Day weekend in the joint backyards of two middle-aged widows. The one house belongs to Flo Owens, who lives there with her two maturing daughters, Madge and Millie, and a boarder who is a spinster school teacher. The other house belongs to Helen Potts, who lives with her elderly and invalid mother. Into this female atmosphere comes a young man named Hal Carter, whose animal vitality seriously upsets the entire group. Hal is a most interesting character, a child of parents who ignored him, self-conscious of his failings and his position behind the eight ball. Flo is sensitively wary of temptations for her daughters. Madge, bored with being only a beauty, sacrifices her chances for a wealthy marriage for the excitement Hal promises. Her sister, Millie, finds her balance for the first time through the stranger's brief attention. And the spinster is stirred to make an issue out of the dangling courtship that has brightened her life in a dreary, minor way.
Winner of the 1953 Pulitzer Prize and the Critics Circle Award. "Having one good play to his credit, William Inge now has another play, PICNIC…and memorable though COME BACK, LITTLE SHEBA was three seasons ago, PICNIC is a notable improvement." —NY Times.