A bright, gray light illuminates the stage, which is empty except for a tired, sagging tree; two rock-like structures made of carpet; and orange cords hanging from the ceiling. The audience, hushed, waits for thirty seconds. The stage is still. Fifteen seconds more. Nothing. People start rustling in their seats. Another fifteen seconds, and an alarm clock starts blaring. Carpets are unrolled. Nerf guns are shot. Patti & The Kid has begun.
For the first half of the play, uncomfortable silence seems to be the norm. In their post-Apocalyptic world, Patti and Kid never speak; rather, the only soundtrack is the blaring of a CD player, which accompanies the two characters as they Jazzercise, eat carrots, and make coffee—completely normal activities, which perfectly juxtapose with the strangeness of the situation. Patti and Kid are wary of the area outside their carpets, and only leave their spaces when standing on a small rolling carpet square and pushing themselves around with a broom. The only technology onstage is old—the clunky CD player, the coffee maker, the alarm clock—yet clearly integral to these characters’ lives.
One starts to believe the silence is some sort of side effect from the Apocalypse. But then Tammy—the antithesis of Patti and Kid, a little girl who seems to have no problem with this new, post-Apocalyptic world—arrives with her feet firmly planted on the ground. She breaks both the fourth wall,addressing the audience directly,and whatever spell has kept Patti and Kid from speaking. While the two characters’ actions originally have the tired, monotonous air of repetition, their silence shows they have performed their morning routine so many times that no words are needed; with the entrance of Tammy, Patti and Kid move into uncharted territory, and discuss previously buried parts of their lives through cathartic monologues.