Stubbs, a United States senator, writes his memoirs and in so doing exposes to us the discrepancies between the actual events that took place and his recounting of them, which he freely reshapes to his own benefit. When armed terrorists arrive to kidnap the senator, at which point surely the real Stubbs must appear, he shows himself incapable of an honest response even under these circumstances and concerns himself instead with how his reactions might most favorably enhance his public persona.
“The political plays of those years mark Nelson’s intense response to America’s evolution from its left-leaning Post-Watergate era to the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan and the country’s turn to the right. Outrage is the tone of voice that unifies much of his work from this period. Taken together, these three plays present a downward moral trajectory. THE VIENNA NOTES shows a politician who literally lives by acting, almost in opposition to reality.”
from the Introduction to Plays By Richard Nelson, Early Plays Volume Two by Robert Marx