It's another hot, August day in Four Way, a small rural town that grew up where two pioneer trails crossed 167 years ago. The time is early morning and we've gathered at the Talking Tree, a large-limbed oak near the center of town where Four Way's citizens meet and visit, whittle, and tell stories—some of which are true. A recent traffic accident has necessitated putting in a four-way stop sign. Jackson Purdy, a city transplant intent on bringing Four Way to the brink of the 21st century, has decided that a time capsule should be placed under the stop sign to commemorate the town's birthday and let future citizens know something about their ancestors. It's a big day for Four Way. Hopes are high that the Times Record will snap the event for its front page. Stanley Frank, the town's self-appointed historian, discovers that Jackson intends to cut down the Talking Tree in order to expand the street and make way for the future. During the course of the play, we are introduced to an array of outrageous and wonderful characters: Cheryl Mae and her brother Bobby James, teenaged orphans; Colleen Kimbel, setting out to change her life; Daryl Sweetwood, a young highway worker who takes a liking to Cheryl Mae; a slightly disoriented Vietnam veteran and his former Army nurse turned companion; Lucinda Harris, a young hitchhiker; and others. By nightfall, nothing Jackson planned has come about, and the Talking Tree hasn't yet fallen victim to the wheels of progress. All seems to be as it was. But rain clouds have begun to gather and the hot spell is about to be broken, and we're all a little closer to each other than we were when the morning began. This play deals with the small but meaningful obsessions that consume most of our lives--love, respect, success, power, compassion, death and rebirth...all in two acts!
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