Act One The play opens with Chris Gorman, an elegantly dressed woman in her mid-thirties, waiting by the telephone inside a renovated Victorian home. Her husband, Ken Gorman, a lawyer, pounces out of an upstairs bedroom: someone is bleeding in the room Ken has just left. The phone rings. Dr. Dudley has kindly left his seat at Phantom of the Opera on Broadway to return the Gormans’ urgent call regarding his patient, Charley Brock, whose telephone this is. Chris begins to explain that as they were arriving at Charley’s house, they heard a loud sound, like a gunshot.
Before she can go any further, Ken rushes out, again, and tells his wife to keep quiet. We learn, as Ken makes up excuses, that Charley tried to shoot himself, but that the bullet only grazed his ear. Nobody knows the whereabouts of Myra, Ken’s wife. But Ken does not want anyone to know about what happened, so Chris quickly lies to the doctor, who ducks back into the theater. Chris, then, hangs up the phone. As she talks logistics with her husband, we learn that Chris is a lawyer.
Meanwhile, a car pulls up in front of the house. Ken tells Chris to answer quickly and “play the hostess,” which sends her into hysterics. He runs back into the bedroom and shuts the door. Chris opens the front door for Lenny and Claire Ganz, who announce that they have been in a car accident on the way over; his brand new BMW is smashed in on one side. Lenny is Charley’s accountant The newly arrived guests want food, but there is no food. They inquire after the Brocks’ Chinese servant, Mai Li; she seems to be missing, too. Lenny and Claire begin to suspect something. Chris begins to explain, but at that moment, Ken bursts out of the bedroom, again, and changes the subject. Lenny struggles to open a pretzel bag, as Claire probes him about some “rumors” regarding Charley and Myra’s infidelity. Ken, finally, admits to the assembled guests that Charley has attempted to shoot himself in the head. In order to keep Charley