Moonchildren is a comedic two act play written by Michael Weller that takes place in the mid 1960s in the kitchen of an off campus apartment in an American college town. It was first performed on February 21, 1972 at the Royale Theatre in New York City, and was directed by Alan Schneider. The cast of characters includes the seven college students who live in the apartment as well as various droppers-by.
The play deals with several issues of college life in the 1960s from the relevancy of classes, to war protests, to bigotry, to suicide via gasoline and matches. Bob, Mike, Cootie, Ruth, Kathy, Dick, and Norman all share this apartment. Other characters in the play are; Shelly, Norman's girlfriend, Mr. Willis, their landlord, Lucky, the downstairs neighbor, Bob's Uncle Murry, two cops, Bream and Effing, Cootie's Father, and Ralph, a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman.
Most of the students are sensors except Norman, who could be considered the hero, is a mathematics graduate student. In the beginning of the play Norman is content to sit back and read his books (and forget them almost immediately after he read them). He has troubles with the relevancy of mathematics as he begins to see there aren't many world-changing applications of math.
Bob, the anti-hero, is a music major. He has troubles dealing with his feelings of being drafted into Vietnam compounded with his mother dieing. He doesn't talk to anyone about these things, including his girlfriend Kathy, who takes great offence to his closed emotions.
Mike and Cootie are the Lenny and Squiggy of the company. They are incredibly intelligent, though mostly prone to using their brains for discord rather than for more constructive motives.
Ruth is Mike's girl friend, who sort of takes on the 1950s homemaker personification. She is good friends with Bob and ends up having uncomfortable conversations with Kathy about her and Bob's relationship.
Kathy is Bob's girlfriend. Bob is one of her project boyfriends, as she feels he (as well as most of her other boyfriends) needs "fixing."
There is a love triangle that exists between Dick (who is appropriately named) Kathy and Bob, which inevitably leads to Kathy moving out of the apartment after her and Bob brake up. Dick is mostly out to get laid. This is the main reason he goes to war protests, as he usually brings someone home with him. Also, he is screwing his one of his professors' wife.
The play gets its name from a monologue delivered by their landlord Mr. Willis, where he is ranting about a dream he had. I believe Weller had a point behind this speech, though I will not get into that here. I will simply allow you to draw your own conclusions:
I got these dreams, really crazy dreams. I go this one where I'm in a clearing, you know, it's right in the middle of the jungle and there's this tribe of Africans, I mean, like I don't know if they're Africans but they're living' in the jungle and they're black so I figure they must be Africans. They got this skin, it's you know, black, but really black. This maybe sounds kind of screwy but it's really beautiful this skin. It's a dream, remember. I'm not sayin' black skin is beautiful, if you see what I mean. I'm in charge of the whole works in this jungle and I got it all organized so the men live in one hut and the women live in another hut and there's a big sort of square in between where nobody's allowed after lights out. They live like this all their life. There's no marrying or anything. I'm a kind of witch doctor and I got this tribe believing...well, you know, they're just, like, Africans, and they don't know you gotta have a man and a woman to make babies and I got 'em thinkin' you get babies when the moon shines down a girl's "who-jer-ma jiggit" and hits the inside of her womb. And I got this whole ceremony where a girl comes to me when she wants a baby and I tell her she gotta wait until it gets dark and the moon comes up. Then I tie her to a plank, face up and tilt the plank so her thing is facing the moon and then I go to the hut with the guys inside and get one of them to jerk-off on a leaf, you know, one of them tropical leafs that's really big. Then I roll this leaf up like it's a tube and I sneak across the square holding this leaf in my hand all rolled up until I get to the girl. She's lying there in the moonlight all black and shiny and her thing is opened right up 'cause she thinks...and I got this tube full of jiz in my hand, and I'm coming closer so I can smell everything and...Jesus, what am I saying! I'm going crazy. It's just a dream what I'm telling you.