Both of the plays in this volume focus closely and dramatically on the pressures on the creative imagination of the writer and artist in the Caribbean. "Couvade," which was first performed in Guyana in 1972 and published in 1974, references the Amerindian ritual where the man takes to his bed and "suffers" some pains equivalent to the pangs of childbirth while his female partner is in actual labor. On one realistic but symbolic level, Lionel's wife Pat is in the latest stages of her pregnancy, but in her view her artist husband has become obsessed with the Amerindian-themed painting he is working on, to the detriment of his concern for her. At another ritual level in the drama, apparent only to Lionel in his dreams, a shaman enacts a collective ritual of offering and celebration of the gods. "A Pleasant Career" is based on the biography of the pioneering and conflicted Guyanese novelist, Edgar Mittelholzer. His career begins with the ludicrous ambition in the 1930s to be an internationally known writer in a society that has no conception of the artist or writer as other than something that comes from overseas. The play explores Mittelholzer's early negotiations of the race and class hierarchies of color in British Guyana, his own position as the "swarthy" boy in a predominantly white family, and his resolute determination to beat down the doors of the London publishing world.