The Fourth Wall


AR Gurney

Published by Dramatists Play Service

2 Male 2 Female

Peggy has redecorated the living room and her husband, Roger, can't stand it. Peggy's usual, exquisite taste was overcome by a mysterious lapse which caused her to re-do the room as if it were a stage set

Everything faces one wall, the "fourth wall," which she's left bare, and which is really the audience

Unable to cope any further, and needing someone to talk to, Roger asks their old, dear friend, Julia, to fly up from New York

Julia agrees that something strange is going on, especially since everyone who enters the room begins to behave as if they were acting in a play, or even a musical when occasionally someone feels the urge to sing a Cole Porter song

Julia, affected by the room, suggests Roger call "976-NUTS" and have Peggy put away, which would allow the two of them to have the affair they've never before thought about

Roger can't do that and explains that he's got one hope left - Floyd, a local theatre professor. Roger asks Floyd to come over in hopes that he can "Doctor" Peggy's play and bring it to a close, thus allowing he and Peggy to resume their happily married life

But that doesn't work either as Floyd sees what's going on and is in complete agreement with Peggy. Peggy, following in St Joan's footsteps at Floyd's urging, decides she must do what she must do and sets out to break the fourth wall in order to connect with her feelings. Roger rushes after her, leaving Julia and Floyd with a final Porter tune

"Anyone familiar with Gurney's work is in for a big surprise ... He has turned the Gurney genre on its ear and produced two hours of devilishly comic cleverness. Nothing he has written before is quite like this piece, and a strong argument can be made that nothing he has written before is this good" - Milwaukee Journal

"... filled with amusing literary references, sophisticated characters and moves along quickly with nary a wasted word ... but the real fun comes from watching Gurney play with the changing reality of the moment as his characters and audience respond to the fourth wall in front of them" - Variety

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