"Dusk Rings a Bell" Synopsis

Warning: Contains Spoilers

Molly has returned to her childhood vacation home in Bethany Beach, Delaware: she’s a 39-year-old PR worker for CNN, and searching for a note she had left for her future-self, written when she was just 14. After breaking a window to retrieve it, she reads: “Dear Molly, When you read this, you will be 39 and your life will be very different than it is right now… Right now I am a stutterer and I hate it… but when you read this at age 39 you won’t be scared and you won’t stutter. You will instead be happy.”

She’s quickly caught by the property’s caretaker, Ray. But right after being fined for the damage, Molly recognizes him: the two had shared a memorable kiss, on a nearby lifeguard stand, when they were teenagers.

The two get to catching up, and Ray offers a confession: In the time since then, he was convicted for participating in a hate crime, in which a gay man was beaten to death. Though he didn’t commit the murder himself, he willfully accompanied the perpetrator without intervening, and served a decade in prison.

Still interested in Ray but appalled by his crime, Molly probes his thoughts, trying to discern how someone could fail to help in that situation. We learn of Ray’s regret, and his experiences in a restorative justice program that helped him gain a sense of empathy for the victim and his family.
Trying to move past the tension, Ray asks Molly on a date and she accepts. This time, their conversation turns to Molly’s life: Ray has a hard time accepting that she works for CNN, a station that leaves its viewers insensitive by running the news 24/7. He feels that humanity would gain more from the ability to connect with just one person—even a murderer—in an authentic way. Molly admits that she doesn’t like her job, but she’s found it “easier, over time, to compromise.”

The two spend the night together, but the next morning, Molly leaves and doesn’t call back. Before the end of the play, we see the two in a flashback, as teenagers once again, on the lifeguard stand sharing their singular, memorable moment.

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