Last Updated on May 10, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 703
Anna Anna is a thirty-two-year-old dancer and aspiring choreographer. She is beautiful, tall, and strong. When the play begins she is grief-stricken at the recent death of her gay roommate, Robbie, who has just died in a boating accident. At the funeral, Anna is mistaken for Robbie's girlfriend, since his family either did not know or refused to acknowledge that he was gay. In the opening scene, she is exhausted from the experience, is drinking, and has resumed smoking. When Pale appears in the middle of the night a month later, Anna comforts him, and after an initially rocky start the two share her bed. After Pale leaves, it is clear that Anna has not been left unaffected by his visit. The next act takes place two months later, with Anna, who has been thinking about marriage and motherhood, celebrating New Year's Eve with Burton. After Pale once again spends the night, Anna asks him to leave and admits that she is frightened. For the next weeks she escapes into work, but what she creates is a dance about Pale. In the last scene of the play, Anna and Pale are reunited and both admit their feelings.
Burton Burton is tall, athletic, and good-looking, He is a successful screenwriter and Anna's boyfriend. In the opening scene, Burton is consoling Anna, but since she could not reached him earlier (he was in Canada), Anna attended the funeral without him. He is very focused on his work and appears to view screenwriting as a way of making a great deal of money rather than as an artistic pursuit. When a screenplay is sold, Burton never concerns himself with how it is produced. In the second act, when Pale's sudden arrival interrupts Anna and Burton's celebration of New Year's Eve, he and Pale fight, and Burton learns that Pale and Anna were intimate. During the confrontation that follows, Burton is rejected by Anna and asked to leave the apartment. The next morning, Burton calls Anna, but when Pale interrupts the conversation, Burton hangs up. He reappears at the beginning of the next scene, and tells Larry that Anna has not returned any of his calls or responded to his messages. Burton admits he was a privileged child and that he has never lost anything important before. His loss of Anna is difficult for him to accept or to understand.
Jimmy See Pale
Larry Larry is another of Anna's roommates. He is twenty-seven, very intelligent, and gay. Larry works in advertising. He is Anna's good friend and confidant, and is aware of Anna's love for Pale long before she is ready to admit it. Larry provides some light comedy that helps dispel the tension of the play. He also recognizes that Anna loves Pale, and so Larry arranges for Pale to see the premier of a dance she has choreographed. Larry finally uses a note as a means of bringing the two lovers together.
Pale Pale is Robbie's older brother who appears in the second scene to collect Robbie's belongings. He manages a restaurant, but is vague and misleading about his life. He is separated from his wife and children, but does not admit it until later in the play. Pale is thirty-six and is described as very sexy in a blue-collar working-class kind of way; his language is filled with obscenities. He admits that he knew that Robbie was gay but is initially contemptuous and sarcastic about his brother's lifestyle. Pale initially appears loud, rude, and obnoxious, but Anna thinks he is trying to disguise his pain at his brother's loss. When he...
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breaks down finally, Anna invites him into her bed. After spending the night with Anna, Pale rushes out the next morning. He returns two months later to interrupt Anna's date with Burton. After the two men fight, Burton is forced to leave, and Pale spends the night. The next morning, Anna asks Pale to leave, and he does so reluctantly. Following his attendance of Anna's dance premier, during which he realizes that the dance is about himself and Anna, Pale returns to Anna's apartment after Larry provides him with the keys. In the final scene he admits to Anna his feelings for her.