The entire action of the play takes place in the broadcast booth of the United States Broadcasting Company during the 1984 Democratic National Convention at Madison Square Garden in New York.
· Oscar Klinger: Network anchor of the United States Broadcasting Company (USBC). A huge, hulking man, a star football player in college, now age 65. Although ill with heart disease, he still gives the impression of considerable physical strength.
· Dan Kleinbart: Producer of the USBC Evening News, a distinguished looking, smooth company man in his fifties.
· Jim Lake: Chairman of the United States Broadcasting Company, age 70 but youthful. He built the USBC almost from scratch, is a man who accepts power, and the deference of others, as his due. He frequently has a large cigar clamped between his teeth.
· Kitty Litter: A very attractive network correspondent in her early forties with a mild speech impediment, a "w" for "r" substitution.
· Frank Pangborn: A handsome self-confident correspondent in his mid forties, a loud, vital, boisterous man.
· Dick Evans: A young, obsequious desk assistant.
· Assistant Director (Sam Zuckerman): A company man in his forties.
· Delbert Knudson: A tiny man, Chinese, with thick glasses, who dresses foppishly and is quite effeminate, yet dangerous when armed. He speaks with a polished British accent.
· Lynn Meadows: A correspondent in her twenties; a young reporter
· Prelate: A conventionally dressed minister
· Cameraman: A network technician
· Dr. Singh: A very dark-skinned Indian physician with a full black beard and turban, dressed in a well-tailored three-piece business suit.
The scene is the broadcast booth of The United States Broadcasting Company in Madison Square Garden. There is a large anchor desk with space for at least three widely separated correspondents. On one corner of the desk is a small phone. A television monitor is stage right. An ancient Underwood Typewriter on a typing stand with chair is USR. A television camera on a camera pedestal is SL. The entrance door to the booth is USL. An entrance door to the control room is USR. There is a glass window for the control room near the door, but very little can be seen through it.
At the rise, OSCAR KLINGER and JIM LAKE are speaking. Initially only a spotlight is on them, and at first they should give the impression of two ordinary, elderly men talking about retirement. Only after the stage lights come up and the spotlight dims, after their first few lines, do we realize who they are.