- Act I
Clive, A British colonial administrator, lives with his family, a governess and servant during turbulent times in Africa. The natives are rioting and Mrs Saunders, a widow, comes to them to seek safety. Her arrival is soon followed by Harry Bagley, an explorer. Clive makes passionate advances to Mrs Saunders, his wife Betty fancies Harry, who secretly has sex with the servant, Joshua, and Clive's son, Edward. The governess Ellen, who reveals herself to be a lesbian, is forced into marriage with Harry after his sexuality is discovered and condemned by Clive. Act 1 ends with the wedding celebrations; the final scene is Clive giving a speech while Joshua is pointing a gun at him.
- Act II
Although Act II is set in 1979, some of the characters of Act I reappear – for them, only 25 years have passed. Betty has left Clive, her daughter Victoria is now married to an overbearing Martin, and Edward has an openly gay relationship with Gerry. Victoria, upset and distant from Martin, starts a lesbian relationship with Lin. When Gerry leaves Edward, Edward, who discovers he is in fact bisexual, moves in with his sister and Lin. The three of them have a drunken ceremony in which they call up the Goddess, after which characters from Act I begin appearing. Act II has a looser structure, and Churchill played around with the ordering of the scenes. The final scene shows that Victoria has left Martin for a ménage à trois with Edward and Lin, and they are sharing custody of their son Tommy. Gerry and Edward are on good terms again, and Betty becomes friends with Gerry, who tells her about Edward's sexuality.