Closer Summary & Study Guide

Patrick Marber
This Study Guide consists of approximately 51 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Closer.
This section contains 727 words
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Closer Summary & Study Guide Description

Closer Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on Closer by Patrick Marber.

The action of the play (which is set in London in the mid-to-late 1990’s) begins in the waiting room of an urban hospital. Conversation reveals that aspiring writer Dan was the passenger in a cab that accidentally hit and knocked over waif-like Alice. As Alice waits to be checked by a doctor, she and Dan act on an immediate attraction to each other, and Alice convinces Dan to take the rest of the day off work. Sometime later, Dan (who has written a book with a character based on Alice) is getting his photograph taken by Anna. They too share an immediate attraction, which Dan tries to act on but which Anna initially rejects. When Alice arrives to meet Dan, she arranges for Anna to take her photograph. The following scene reveals that Dan and Anna have become involved. Dan, while visiting an internet sex connection site, poses as Anna in a conversation with sexually needy dermatologist Larry, who arranges to meet “Anna” the following day. When Larry and the real Anna meet, they too have an immediate connection, and they too act on that connection.

A few months later, Anna has a showing of her photographs (including the one she took of Alice) at an art gallery. Alice meets Dan there, and asks him to take her to the country with him to meet his family in the aftermath of his father’s death: Dan refuses. Dan later encounters Anna, and asks her to go with him to the country: Anna refuses. Meanwhile, Larry meets Alice, and finds her attractive, but then goes to talk to Anna, conversation revealing that since their initial encounter, they’ve moved in together. The final scene of the first act sees the two couples in their separate living spaces, both breaking up: Dan breaks up with Alice, saying he wants to be with Anna, while Anna breaks up with Larry, saying she wants to be with Dan. Alice leaves, while Anna and Larry fight bitterly over who Anna had better sex with, Larry or Dan.

The second act begins with an encounter between Larry and Alice at the strip club where Alice now works. Their conversation is intensely sexual, with Larry ending up acting on the power that men have at strip clubs: to get the women to do whatever the men want in exchange for money. In the following scene, Dan and Anna meet to discuss whether Anna has actually gotten Larry to sign the divorce papers: at the same time, the scene includes flashbacks to the meeting between Larry and Anna, a couple of hours before in the same place, at which she asked him exactly that. The parallel conversations reveal that Anna had sex with Larry to get him to sign the papers. Dan erupts in anger.

Sometime later, Larry and Alice meet at a museum, conversation reveals that the two of them are together and that Alice is there to meet Anna to get the negatives of the photographs Anna took of her. When Anna arrives, she and Larry have a sharp, bitter encounter, and then Larry goes. Alice then asks Anna to let Dan go, so that he will come back to her (Alice) and that Anna can go back to Larry, who still wants her. The scene ends with no clarity on what Anna is going to do. A short time later, Dan visits Larry’s office and begs him to let Anna go so that she can come back to him. Larry tells him to go after Alice, who genuinely loves him and needs him.

A month or so later, Alice and Dan are in a hotel room, about to go on a trip for the four year anniversary of their meeting. Their happiness falls apart when the obsessive Dan insists on knowing the truth of what happened between Alice and Larry. She finally admits that they had sex, and goads Dan into hitting her. The final scene reveals that Alice and Dan broke up that night; that Anna and Larry are also broken up, and that Larry has a new girlfriend; that Alice died in New York; and that she lied about her identity, having taken her name from a list of names on a statue. As they absorb this information, Dan and Anna break up for good.

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