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At Home in the World


A 46-year-old woman revisits her coming of age in 1970, observing and commenting on the experiences of her younger self. Act I Margaret flashes back to the beginning of her senior year of college: October, 1969. She meets Jim, a graduate student who becomes her first lover. After a sweet beginning, he soon makes abusive demands. Margaret struggles to see them as tests, wanting to prove that she too is an explorer, worthy of being loved. But after Jim’s apparent abandonment, Margaret’s personal life collapses against the backdrop of the country’s political turmoil. She is nonetheless able to make choices that will lead to a life away from Jim. Act II Margaret moves into a house with her buddy, Mark, 19. But Jim’s unavailability and mood shifts continue to hurt her, Mark is worried about the draft, and Margaret feels that “the summer is getting away” from her. The costume party that she plans as a last ditch attempt to reach Jim ends in disaster, and she finds herself more alone than ever. Act III Following a sadistic erotic act by Jim, Margaret realizes that nothing can justify his behavior. This event represents the danger Margaret is in. She must choose, not passively let others choose for her. Margaret confronts Jim, and for the first time tells him how she feels. Act IV Margaret plunges into life without Jim, a coda. He tries to jerk her back one last time, but ultimately fails. However, rather than disillusion, her illusions about Jim have been replaced by a deeper, more compassionate seeing. She also forgives herself, and can now face her future with faith.