Vera O'Toole is alone, adrift and living dangerously in New York where she survives as a call-girl. But she has a sustaining thought, a dream. She is not alone, she feels, because she has a family in Ireland; she belongs; indeed, some day she may even become worthy of that family.
Now, as the story begins, she returns home to Ireland to pay her respects to her dead and beloved grandmother and to discover her dream, her sustaining thought, turning into a nightmare.
The Wake was described by the Mail on Sunday as 'Extraordinarily good . . . the power of the piece comes from Murphy's refreshing and almost defiant unpredictability, his refusal to impose a single limiting theme on this tragic-comedy . . . it somehow touches on everything and everyone Irish'.
The Wake was first performed at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, in January 1998.