In 1993, the MET in New York City produced Kenneth Lonergan's one-act play "Betrayal by Everyone" during their festival of short plays. Lonergan then expanded the play and renamed it This Is Our Youth. The new version opened off Broadway in 1998 to rave reviews that continued when the play moved the following year to the Douglas Fairbanks Theater on Broadway. The play was published by Overlook Press in 2000.
The entire play takes place in an Upper West Side apartment in New York City in 1982 and centers on two friends: twenty-two-year-old Dennis, whose father pays for his rent, and nineteen-year-old Warren, who has just stolen fifteen thousand dollars from his father. Both are college dropouts who have been caught up in the excesses of the "Me Generation" of the 1980s yet, at the same time, reject the elitist world of their parents. The plot is complicated by a young woman who, along with Dennis, introduces Warren to the complexities of human relationships, especially concerning issues of loyalty and betrayal. As Lonergan focuses on the efforts of Dennis and Warren to return the cash to Warren's father, he presents an acerbic look at this generation in its ironic struggle both to resist and to attain adulthood.