Bad Habits



Bad Habits, written by Terrence McNally, is a two-act play, with each act set in a different medical retreat where people send themselves because of the bad habits they picked up along the way. At Dunelawn (Act 1), a doctor teaches his patients to embrace their bad habits and look for new ones to try out. Three couples find their way to Dunelawn in hopes of saving their relationships. They include a middle class couple who has been trying to murder one another, a celebrity couple who love one another nearly as much as they love themselves, and a bickering gay couple (who would never consider parting from one another even though they really can't stand each other) who have all permanently committed themselves to the medical facility. In contrast, at Ravenswood (Act 2), a nurse suppresses every possible pleasure her patients might experience. The medical staff at Ravenswood believes in suppressing every pleasure, because pleasure leads to personality defects.  They continually combat unrepentent patients including an alcoholic, a drag queen, and an Italian man who has turned into a Japanese sadist.  Head nurse Ruth Benson has made herself into a perfect person and is committed to helping (forcing) her patients to reach that same lofty goal and ridding them of their bad habits even if it kills them.

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