Nathan Joe’s play is a series of two person scenes between teenagers based on a daisy chain character format made famous by Arthur Schnitzler’s La Ronde (1897). Like Schnitzler’s play, Joe’s characters have a sexual encounter in each scene and try to deal with the consequences. Lonely Samantha who has a reputation for sleeping around encounters Ben who sneaks off with mean Mandy. Popular boyfriend, James, confesses his love which is a deal breaker. At a party he pushes infatuated wallflower Natalie into a disappointing first time. Natalie uses her out friend Lisa to feel better who in turn uses geek Gary to test her sexuality (still not into boys!).
The final scene is between Gary and Samantha. This is the scene included in OUTLIERS and it’s the only scene where the characters choose not to get physical. It’s not just that this is the outlier scene within the play; both Sam and Gary are also archetypal outsiders. The ‘geek’, Gary is looking forward to the end of school so he can go to University and fit in. Sam is alone and finds it easier to offer caresses than truthful conversation. The play ends when Sam accepts Gary’s counter-offer of friendship.