Ethan’s People is about a man having secret rendezvous with his best friend’s wife. Their assignations occur in a cheap, ratty motel room, with all the usual carefulness about parking and guilty lurking at the doorway. When he leaves one of her CDs in his car stereo, she rebukes him: What if your wife saw? And he rebukes himself: What would her husband think?

But theirs is an affair of grief, not of adultery. There is no sex, and no romance; their connection is deeper, and different. He cannot confide in his wife, and neither of them can confide in her husband, though both sincerely love him, which leaves them either to nurse their grief separately, in isolation, or together.

The play begins with both couples on stage, each in their own suburban homes, each immersed in the eternal morning business of men preparing for work and women fussing over children. John and Gwen (J. R. Gudger and Missy...

 
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