“Red Maple feels familiar and immediately relatable…” Steve Barnes, Albany Times Union
- November. Late Saturday afternoon and evening.
- City Apartment/ Condominium
John Hartley 56, Freelance Photographer. Refuses to grow up.
Karen Hartley 54, Administrator in a Not-for-Profit. At a crossroads.
Stephanie Morton 58, Buyer at Saks. No filter.
Robert Morton PhD 57, College Professor of Literature. Lost.
Theresa/ Jennifer 32, Realtor, Mom, Assassin (not necessarily in that order).
John and Karen are estranged empty nesters struggling to find a way back to love. Karen has moved out and is living temporarily in a hotel. Tonight, she has returned to their apartment so she and John can host a dinner for their friends Robert and Stephanie. Robert was recently involved in an automobile accident in which he sustained injury and was arrested for driving while intoxicated. He has just been discharged from the hospital and John and Karen have offered dinner as a gesture of support. During the evening, Robert reveals to John that he is in the midst of a life crisis, that not only did he deliberately cause the auto accident and choose to drive his car into the oncoming vehicle, but that he has also hired a clandestine service to kill him or as he puts it, to assist in his suicide. Despite Robert’s protests, John reveals this secret to Karen and Stephanie. Just as John, Karen and Stephanie are trying to determine if Robert’s story is legitimate or a figment of his imagination, a bullet shatters the upstage window, missing Robert but wounding John in the hand and ending act one.
Act two begins with a makeshift sign in the upstage window requesting a cancellation of Robert’s contract. The assassin, Jennifer, arrives and tries to navigate the changing circumstances and her next course of action. Unfortunately, in an effort to protect Robert, Stephanie attacks Jennifer, Jennifer subdues Stephanie, which prompts John to attack Jennifer, who subdues John, which prompts Karen to hit Jennifer over the head with a lamp. And even more unfortunate is that Jennifer appears to be dead. As John and Karen and Robert and Stephanie try to choose their next course of action, more secrets are revealed and more relationships are tested. Will the four friends cover up the apparent crime and all commit to a secret they must keep for life? Will John support Karen? Will Robert support Stephanie? And what to do about the dead assassin? As the four friends struggle to solve their problem, each is forced to confront long held secrets and unresolved issues with their spouse. Eventually John and Karen must choose to recommit to each other or to go their separate ways.
Sometimes it takes extraordinary circumstances to teach us who we are and to remind us who we love.