The title is a reference to parachutes that fail to open. Streamers originally was a one-act play entitled Knives Rabe completed in the late 1960s prior to writing the first two-thirds of his trilogy. While working as a journalist in New Haven, Connecticut, he expanded it into a full-length play. Under the direction of Mike Nichols, it premiered at the Long Wharf Theatre on January 30, 1976. The cast included Herbert Jefferson, Jr. as Roger, Peter Evans as Richie, John Heard as Billy, Joe Fields as Carlyle, Dolph Sweet as Cokes, and Kenneth McMillan as Rooney.
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