The play begins in the woods on a warm night in early October. There is a group of five people situated on the ground and in folding chairs around a campfire, which provides the only source of light. (Being “post-electric,” the play stipulates that all lighting must come from non-electric sources.) One woman, Colleen, sits slightly apart from the rest of the group, whom we first meet mid-conversation as they very intently work to recount the “Cape Feare” episode of The Simpsons in as much detail as they can remember.
Of the group, Matt appears to be most familiar with the episode and with The Simpsons in general. He and Jenny, who is also clearly a Simpsons fan, lead the charge in the reconstruction of “Cape Feare,” with occasional input and questions from Maria, who may have only seen this episode once. As they discuss ties to the original films, Sam, who has been functioning as a lookout, joins the conversation, revealing himself to be quite the cinephile. He offers bits of trivia about the films and the production of the episode, as Matt, Jenny, and Maria continue to focus on the plot.
Suddenly, Sam silences the group, having heard something approaching their campsite. The entire group rises, draw their weapons, and listen intently. The sound of footsteps draws nearer and Colleen hides herself in the trees on the other side of the campsite. Gibson enters. Unlike the rest of the group, who are dressed in casual attire, Gibson wears expensive camping gear from head to toe. As he approaches, he attempts to ensure the group that he is okay and means them no harm. The group silently inspects the backpack that he hands over to them and confiscates his weapons. Once these apparent security measures are complete, Gibson introduces himself.
He has arrived from Framingham, Massachusetts, and describes to the group what he has seen on his journey to them. We find out that Boston is “a mess” and Providence is deserted, and through their conversation it starts to