The play is centred on on Fitz, Henry, Tim and Donald, who are actors rehearsing a play called Caliban's Day. The director has been called away, so they have a run-through/workshop directed by the stage manager, Kay, in the presence of the playwright, Neil. "Caliban's Day" is about a fictitious meeting in 1973 in Auden's rooms at Oxford, between Auden (Fitz) in his latter years and Britten (Henry). Auden has hired a rent boy, Stuart (Tim) and when Humphrey Carpenter (Donald) - who will write biographies of both Auden and Britten after their deaths - arrives to interview him, Auden mistakes him for Stuart. Britten has been auditioning boys for Death in Venice nearby, and arrives unexpectedly (their first meeting in 25 years after they fell out over the failure of their opera Paul Bunyan). He wants to discuss his misgivings about the paedophilic theme of Death in Venice and the light that may cast on his own life, but Auden assumes Britten wants him to write the libretto.