THE STORY: The time is 1954, the place a seedy bar in San Francisco where two soldiers, one an eager draftee, the other a leathery veteran, are looking for a good time before being shipped overseas. Two attractive Hispanic women enter the bar, and the GI’s move in quickly—Buddy, the older one, is all bravado and macho charm, while Frazier, the younger man, tries to ingratiate himself with his schoolboy Spanish. With the arrival of the girl’s brother, Esteban, a note of menace arises, as he attempts to explain that his sisters are ladies of breeding and good family fallen on hard times, while the cynical Buddy is convinced that he is their pimp, haggling over price. Unable to bridge the gulf of culture and language, Buddy and Esteban fight but are quickly separated by Frazier, who realizes that the brother, unable to comprehend the rules of a game he has never played, can only fall back on the ways of his old world to meet the confusing challenges of the new.
Especially suitable as a companion piece to this author’s Obie Award-winning short play Tennessee/I> (and, like it, first presented by New York’s noted Ensemble Studio Theatre), the present play again brings rare skill and insight to its compassionate study of the clash between those forces which divide us and those which would bring us closer together. “Mr. Linney sketches this group portrait with gentle, understated strokes, never overplaying his hand.” —NY Times. “Linney’s a skilled and intelligent writer, who knows how to build his action, pace his surprises the play carries both credibility and emotional weight.” —Village Voice.