Living in an isolated house during the winter, Carol has invited her ex-patriot sister Penny and Penny’s new boyfriend to come visit from Europe with the promise of helping the boyfriend find a publisher for his novel-in-progress. Carol is recovering from the loss of her husband, who died in a freak accident while Penny was visiting during the previous summer. There are many unanswered questions about the accident in Carol’s mind, as there are in Hamlet, a text Carol is teaching as she conducts her own investigation.
A play within a play structure turns the mystery format inside out and also examines some broader themes. Set in January of 1985, the height of the Reagan era, the drama examines our middle class at a turning point. Carol was a political activist who has become a workaholic. Penny has drifted from job to job and man to man, and is trying to regain some stability in her life. Both sisters are at a point where youthful idealism has faded and will either give rise to some broader or narrower vision of their lives.