US President Charles Foster Raye (Chuck) is due to address the UN in order to try and avert an all out war with China. He approaches a speechwriter, Theresa, in order to write the first great speech of the 21st century for the occasion. Unable to resist such an opportunity, she takes on the challenge, then panics, terrified that she will be unable to deliver. Norman, her therapist, offers to help her through the process. Together, with the iconic speeches of the 20th century projected over the entire set, they deconstruct each speech, in an effort to discover what makes it work.
The reason that Norman offers to help Theresa is that he is deeply in love with her, but cannot say anything because of the therapeutic relationship. Norman's therapist, Prudence, disapproves strongly. Never having been in a serious relationship herself, she aches for the touch of another human being, but would never dream of acting on this desire.
As it happens, Prudence is also the President's therapist. Chuck is not coping, and is on the verge of a total breakdown. Prudence feels she should somehow reveal his predicament, for the public good, but is restrained by her fear of destabilising the nation in a time of crisis.
As the public rhetoric of freedom grows increasingly hyperbolic with each successive speech, the personal freedom of each of the characters progressively narrows, as they become increasingly trapped by their circumstances.
A moving study of the illusory nature of freedom in the West. (Publisher's blurb)