The Homecoming is set in a large room in an old house in working-class North London. This is the home of Max, a retired butcher; Sam, his brother, who drives for a car-hire (cab)service; and two of Max’s sons: Lenny, a successful pimp, and Joey, a dullard who works on a demolition crew during the day while trying to become a professional boxer.
Act I, Scene 1
The playopens with Lenny reading the newspaper. Max enters looking for scissors and is ignored by Lenny. Max talks about his late wife Jessie and his late friend MacGregor. He speaks of Jessie withboth fondness and shocking disapproval: “She wasn’t such a bad woman. Even though it made me sick just to look at her rotten stinking face, she wasn’t such a bad bitch.” Max also talks of hisspecial understanding of horses. Lenny tells Max to shut up and then says that Max’s cooking is fit only for dogs. Sam enters and Max insults him about his driving and the fact that he is notmarried. Joey enters from a workout at the gym, and Max turns on him, saying that his trouble as a boxer is that he doesn’t know how to attack or defend himself. Max also threatens to throw Sam outwhen he is too old to pay his way. Sam pointedly reminds Max that Mac and Jessie were very close friends. The scene ends in blackout.
Act I, Scene 2
The next scene, a few hours later, opens withTeddy and Ruth standing at the threshold to the room. Teddy is Max’s eldest son, a Ph.D. who teaches philosophy at an American university. Ruth is his wife of six years about whom the rest ofthe family know nothing. They have been on a trip to Europe, and Teddy has brought her to meet the family. Ruth, though at first claiming to be tired, decides to go out for a walk. After Ruthleaves, Lenny enters. The reunion between the two brothers is civil but without any sense of warmth. Teddy goes to bed and Lenny goes and gets a clock that he suspects of disturbing his sleep.