Act 1, Scenes 3–4
Becca, Izzy, and their mother, Nat, are celebrating Izzy’s birthday at Becca’s home. Becca cuts her homemade cake and offers everyone a piece just as Howie comes downstairs. It’s clear Nat has asked Howie to print something for her, but she can’t seem to understand the document. Howie explains that it’s a timeline. Nat says this “list” doesn’t necessarily mean “it was a curse.”
Nat starts talking about the Kennedys and how the family was cursed, which caused multiple deaths. She says they acted recklessly by flying around on private jets and playing football while skiing. The “list” is a timeline of all the Kennedy deaths. She says Rose Kennedy’s story is the saddest because she lived to be 104 and witnessed multiple tragedies. Becca changes the subject by suggesting they open gifts. Upon this suggestion, Nat realizes she’s been rambling for some time, unable to remember her original point. Becca blames the wine she’s drinking.
Becca hands Izzy a large present, but the mood shifts when Becca tells Izzy it’s a “practical” gift. Howie blurts out that it’s a bathroom set, and Becca shoots him a disapproving look. Izzy feels like this is Becca’s way of telling her she doesn’t like her Three Stooges shower curtain, but Becca denies that claim. Nat, however, calls Izzy’s current shower curtain “crap.” Izzy tries to reinforce to Becca that she is appreciative of the gift, but Becca feels Izzy doesn’t like it.
Nat, telling Izzy she doesn’t trust her with cash, gives Izzy a gift certificate to a maternity clothing store. Izzy is thrilled, but this gift causes Becca to become frustrated. She mentions the phone conversation where they decided they weren’t going to buy baby things until the shower. Nat disagrees, saying maternity clothing doesn’t count. Becca becomes more upset, which causes everyone to try to appease her. Howie suggests returning the bathroom set and getting something else, but Izzy rejects the suggestion. Becca attempts to physically take the gift back from Izzy, which causes a quiet struggle until Izzy tells Becca to let it go. Becca, embarrassed, releases the gift.
After more silence, Howie shifts the conversation toward Taz, Nat’s dog, but the audience soon learns the dog previously belonged to Becca and Howie. They argue about dog food until Nat remembers where she was going with the conversation about the Kennedys. She brings up Aristotle Onassis and his son dying in a plane crash. Nat says Onassis couldn’t accept the fact that the crash was an accident and offered a reward for anyone who could prove the plane was sabotaged. She explains that he died of grief a few years later because he was never able to process the incident.
This story causes Becca to become angry, but Nat feels the anger is misguided. She says Becca missed the point. Becca makes flippant remarks about buying “comfort” on eBay as Izzy unsuccessfully tries to change the subject. Nat mentions Becca’s refusal to go to a support group. Becca turns to Howie to explain himself, but Nat continues to describe how group support will help her connect with others who are going through the same thing. She explains that group support was helpful for her when their brother, Arthur, died. Becca refuses to hear anyone’s point, believing no one could ever understand her pain.
Becca says she doesn’t like group support because all they talk about is God’s plan and faith. Nat tries to explain that faith is comforting to some people, but at this point, Becca’s attitude is sour. Becca makes sarcastic remarks against God as she denounces clichéd messages about life. She doesn’t want to hear about “everything happening for a reason” or that her son is in a “better place.”
As the group tries to reason with Becca, she calls God a “sadistic prick.” In an uproar, Izzy, Nat, and Howie talk over each other, telling Becca she’s gone too far. Becca continues and suggests that God sounds...
(The entire section is 1,345 words.)