The story takes place in the home of an affluent Russian widow, Elena Popova, who has been mourning the death of her promiscuous husband for a year. Her aged servant Luka urges her to give up her secluded life, but Elena insists that she will remain faithful to her husband even if he never did to her.
Then her home is invaded by a boorish creditor, the misogynist lieutenant Gregory Smirvnov, who demands that Elena pay him money her husband owed him or he will go bankrupt – and will not leave until she does so. Sparks fly between them leading, inevitably, to farcical, satiric romance
- The Gate premiered ‘The Bear’ and ‘Afterplay’, entitled “Two Plays After”, in Dublin before transferring to the Spoleto Festival, South Carolina.
- This production served as the American premiere of the play