Overture: And the empty stage is suddenly filled with actors rushing to be ready for the show. They leap into costumes and place their props and juggle oranges and finally, at the climax, throw clouds of colored paper into the air. Then the Narrator sings Try to Remember, an invitation for the audience to "follow" into the spirit of the play. After this, he introduces the characters: "A boy, a girl, two fathers, and a wall." The girl, Luisa, tells us about her daydreams (Much More). Then the boy, Matt, and the girl sing an ardent love duet across the wall that separates them (Metaphor).
The feuding fathers appear and send the children packing. Left alone, the old men gleefully embrace across the wall and congratulate themselves on their knowledge of child psychology (Never Say No). The fathers have created the feud to make sure their children fall in love. This accomplished, they decide to end the feud with a flourish by hiring El Gallo (who is actually our Narrator in bandit disguise). His job is to provide an abduction, which he insists upon calling a Rape. "It's short and business-like," he explains. As for the cost of the Rape, El Gallo explains it further, It Depends on What You Pay.
Next: moonlight. El Gallo sets the scene with a speech "You Wonder How These Things Begin." And the lovers meet before the approaching storm (Soon It's Gonna Rain). Their tryst is interrupted by The Rape Ballet, during which El Gallo and his assistants stage an elaborate abduction, complete with swordfights, Indians, and a spectacular victory for the boy (Happy Ending).
Act Two begins in the sunlight as romanticism starts to wear thin (This Plum Is Too Ripe). The fathers quarrel. The lovers break up, and Matt starts off to see the world as the Narrator comments upon the young boy's glorious dream (I Can See It). As the wall is safely rebuilt between them, the fathers return to their gardens and their friendship (Plant a Radish). The Narrator reassumes the disguise of the bandit and makes love to the girl, promising to take her into a world of parties and adventure (Round and Round). After this buildup, he walks out on her. And the boy comes back, disheveled and disillusioned. Both of the children have been hurt. But they have grown up a bit in the process. As the Narrator explains, "There is a curious paradox," the lovers reunite in a simple and unaffected way (They Were You).
The Autumn is over. Winter comes, bringing snow - and wisdom. And the Narrator closes the show with a reprise of his opening song: