A BAD FRIEND focuses on Rose, a typical New York teenager experiencing the strains and pains of growing up in 1953 Brooklyn. What isn't typical about Rose, however, is her family's membership in the Communist Party, a circumstance that leads to recriminations and betrayal in this moving, suspenseful and surprisingly funny play.
In an interview in The New York Times, playwright Jules Feiffer discussed how he came to write a play that takes place during the period of leftwing politics, McCarthyism, the blacklist and the House Un-American Activities Committee: "Nobody turned out to be quite what they said they were. In this difficult time, the people who you put your faith in turned out to be something other than who they claimed to be." Building upon this idea, and creating characters partly based on members of his own family, Feiffer's A BAD FRIEND evolved into a mystery of sorts about a family's efforts to hold on to its unpopular beliefs against the backdrop of rampant McCarthyism.