Henry and Elinor Colander are preparing to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary with a special dinner. Sybil has just broken up with her boyfriend, so they invite her to join them.



Act I Edit

On the porch of a house out in the country, Henry is napping in his rocking chair at dusk. Elinor calls him in for dinner, waking him up. Groggy, he gets up and comes into the house. Elinor asks Henry to set the table and he seems irritated by the request. He cuts his finger on a knife and puts his finger in his mouth. Elinor looks at the cut and then places his finger in her mouth as well. The couple bickers back and forth, but it is light-hearted.  

As Henry sits down to eat, Elinor reflects on their life together and mentions that their 25th anniversary is coming that Friday. Elinor remarks that she doesn't understand why holidays sometimes make her blue. She admits that she misses their children. Henry seems annoyed, but Elinor insists that anniversaries seem so empty because the children always added something. Henry lets Elinor know that those days are done and Elinor wishes that they could have more children. As they enjoy each other's company, two hikers approach their house from outside.

Act II Edit

It is daytime and Elinor is on the porch shucking peas. The hikers from the previous night approach the house and ask Elinor if she knows where the Anderson place is so they do not have to spend another night in Elinor and Henry's orchard. When Elinor politely mentions that it is customary to ask permission to sleep in her orchard before doing so, not after, the male hiker, Mark, rudely lets her know that he is not asking. The female hiker tries to be polite and Elinor does not seem to mind.  

Mark continues to be rude. In spite of this, Elinor offers to let the hikers stay there in exchange for some work in the orchard. When the male hiker makes fun of Elinor, Henry comes out of the house with his shotgun. The male hiker quiets down and the female hiker suggests that the two of them leave. As they turn to do so, Elinor asks the female hiker her name which is given as Sybil. Elinor suggests that Sybil improve the quality of her friends and lets her know she is always welcome to come back and stay with them at any time.

Later, Elinor is inside cutting meat and Henry grabs a piece of it. Elinor laments about the poor quality of the meat before wondering if Sybil will return to visit. She tells Henry to take care of the wine casks and he remarks that it would be nice to have a woman around the house that doesn't boss him around. Again, the bickering is light-hearted as he leaves to do as he was told.

The feet of one of the hikers is shown as they set their backpack down and walks up onto the porch. Sybil comes into the house and Elinor seems happy. Sybil lets her know that she left Mark and notices that Elinor is staring at her. Elinor just tells Sybil that Sybil reminds her of one of her children. When Sybil wonders what happened to Elinor's children, she tells them that they left but part of them never leaves. Elinor offers Sybil a shower because Sybil has been basically homeless and on the road for a long time.

Act III Edit

Sybil and Elinor are eating stew as Henry comes into the house. He makes a comment when he sees Sybil, but Elinor tells him to be nice. Elinor mentions that Sybil ran away from home two years earlier and hasn't seen her parents since. When Elinor mentions how Sybil reminds her of one of their children, Henry seems reluctantly happy to let her stay.  

Henry suggests to Elinor that they let Sybil see the playroom and Elinor thinks it is a good idea. Elinor pushes the wall and a secret door opens up. Sybil goes into a dark room with walls covered with stuffed animal heads and rifles. Sybil seems in awe of the room. When Henry turns the lights on, Sybil sees a huge hot tub in the room. Elinor informs Sybil that Henry built the hot tub for the children. When the couple offer Sybil the opportunity to try the hot tub out, Sybil becomes excited and runs out of the room. 

When Henry tries to turn on the hot tub, it does not work. For the first time Elinor seems genuinely annoyed with Henry. She is mad at him for not fixing the switch. The two bicker for real until Henry's kicking finally activates the tub.

Sybil comes back covered in a towel. Henry asks to see Sybil's suit and Elinor suggests that he behave. They warn her of how hot the water is and she eases into it. As Sybil clearly enjoys the hot tub, Elinor and Henry turn away from her. They seem genuinely happy and remark that their anniversary will be just like it was in the old days.

Act IV Edit

Sybil comes out onto the porch in her bathing suit to talk with Elinor and Henry. Sybil mentions how much she enjoyed the soak and Elinor informs her that the following day is going to be their 25th anniversary. When Sybil mentions she does not have a gift for them, Elinor lets her know that her being there is the only gift that they need. Henry mentions that he is going to sue their butcher and Elinor explains to Sybil the lousy quality of the meat they had been getting.  

Henry explains to Sybil that the problem with the butcher is that he does not know how to kill animals correctly. He tells her that no animal wants to die, but it is necessary for other animals to live. If the killer does not have respect for the animal he is killing, the animal will die incorrectly and that will poison the meat.

For a few moments, the atmosphere seems tense. Elinor tells her they will be going into town the following day to pick up the fixings for their anniversary meal and that Sybil should feel free to sleep in as long as she wants.

Act V Edit

Sybil wakes up in the morning and she is alone in the house. When she sees that Elinor and Henry are not around, she opens up the secret panel in the hot tub room and turns the lights on. At first she admires the stuffed heads on the wall, but seems put off by the array of knives and guns displayed. Sybil turns on the hot tub and then goes over and opens the wall to reveal the stereo. She turns it on and classical music is playing.

As Sybil starts feeling the items on the wall, she sees Henry looking at her. He is angry and yells at her for touching a lock on the wall. When Sybil mentions she didn't know they were home, he yells at her. Upset, Sybil leaves the room and apologizes to Elinor. Sybil feels bad that Henry is upset and that she ruined their anniversary. Elinor insists that Sybil did not ruin their anniversary. Elinor tells her that she will talk to Henry. As soon as Elinor leaves the room, Sybil notices a very large spoon on the wall.

Henry comes out and tells Sybil that he is not upset. He pours her some homemade wine and insists that they just enjoy the anniversary. Sybil enjoys the wine and Henry tells her she can soak in the tub.

Sybil is enjoying the wine while she is soaking in the hot tub. Elinor comes in and tells Sybil she brought her a snack. Elinor starts throwing vegetables into the hot tub, telling Sybil she can eat whatever she wants because the water won't hurt it. Elinor pours the wine into the hot tub. When Henry comes in, Sybil tells him she is not scared of him anymore and Henry insists he never meant to scare her. Elinor pours more vegetables into the hot tub as Sybil keeps laughing.  

Sybil begins to pass out and drops her wine into the tub. Then she sinks into the water and Henry pours in the wine. Sybil drowns and Henry and Elinor take the key and open the locked cabinet on the wall, revealing six human skulls. Elinor remarks how she loves having the children for dinner.

Trivia Edit

  • A "colander" is a perforated bowl used to strain liquid from food, usually after cooking.
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