A late night in the Bronx, Danny and Roberta meet each other in a dingy bar – both uneasy and defensive, their verbal sparring matches begin to build a empathetic trust and fondness. Danny, a day laborer living with his mother, struggles with his fits of violence and fears that he killed a man during a brawl earlier that night. Roberta, a single mother living with her parents, is out looking for reasons to prove her worthlessness to herself due to her unfit behavior as a mother, and troubled past. What begins as a hostile encounter, transforms into understanding and yearning between the two. Their personalities are compatible enough to challenge each others self-destructive behavior, and yet never lose trust. They leave for Roberta’s home to spend the night together, apprehensive, and yet hopeful of their newfound bond. Danny and Roberta find themselves able to communicate in what seems to be a new language for them both – empathy and openness. They allow themselves to explore fantasies of grace and kindness, and the compassion of romantic love. Roberta embraces Danny through his rages, nudging him to verbalize what makes him angry, instead of reacting with violence. Danny listens carefully as Roberta reveals some of her own hard truths about her sexually traumatic past, validating her pain while pushing away any notion that she is shamefully ruined. It’s unclear that neither Danny nor Roberta have ever known anything more honest or gentle than this time spent in one another’s company. Whether they will stay together after this formative encounter is an unanswered question that lingers, but it is undeniable that they have changed one another’s lives. Through Danny and Roberta, Stanley cleverly orchestrates the wit and brutal honesty of these characters to explore the deep need of human compassion.