Act 1 opens in the glass-enclosed terrace of Irene Burroughs’s country house. As the curtain rises, Irene and Michael O’Hara enter. Concerned about the arrival of Susan Trexel and how she will react if she learns that Michael and Irene are living together, Irene warns Michael to be careful about what he tells Susan. He is annoyed at Irene’s lack of openness. They are interrupted by the arrival of Charlotte Marley, Leonora Stubbs, her husband Stubbie, and Clyde Rochester. It is soon clear that the group is not happy: Stubbie is jealous of the attention Clyde pays to Leonora, Leonora makes fun of Stubbie, and all focus nervously on Susan’s impending arrival. They dissect Susan’s troubled marriage to the alcoholic Barrie Trexel, and Charlotte criticizes Susan’s neglect of her teenage daughter, Blossom.
However, when the charming Susan appears, her friends respond immediately. They are fascinated by Susan’s story of meeting Lady Wiggam, a British woman who has begun a “movement” that emphasizes spiritual contact and a “practical” God. Leonora takes Susan to get settled, and the rest scatter when Susan’s husband, Barrie, arrives with Blossom, whom he has rescued from her lonely boarding school. While Barrie and Blossom wait to see Susan, they talk about Blossom’s dislike of the camp where Susan has sent her every summer. They discuss staying together as a family for the summer, using their own country house. It is clear that this can happen only if Susan agrees. The first scene ends when Irene’s butler lies for Irene, telling Barrie that Susan will not come until the next day. Barrie and Blossom leave together.
Scene 2 opens after dinner, with the group feeling guilty about their treatment of Barrie. Susan is expounding on the importance of being “God conscious.” She creates a problem by urging Clyde to confess his...
(The entire section is 764 words.)