Steps Must Be Gentle is Tennessee Williams's fantasia about the poet Hart Crane, who committed suicide by jumping off a ship into the Gulf of Mexico. Crane's life, death, and poetry were inspirations to Williams. In Steps Must Be Gentle, Williams pictures Crane at peace on the bottom of the sea...until his mother dies and tracks him down to straighten him out.
Steps Must Be Gentle is paired with Some Problems for the Moose Lodge, the action of which begins as a family returns from a funeral for a gay son. To the mother's delight and the father's derision, they discover that their other son has moved into their house for a visit with his fiancée: a pregnant holy roller who speaks in tongues.