The three plays in this collection form a triptych--the central play, a farce, is flanked by two dramas. Together they span the last four decades of Trinidad's social and political history, beginning, in The Last Carnival, with the colonial life-style of a French Creole family faced with the emergence of the Black Power movement, and ending, in A Branch of the Blue Nile, with the conflict among members of a small theatre company in contemporary Port-of-Spain. Beef, No Chicken, the middle play, deals with the corruption of a small town in a hurry to catch up with the industrialization that a new highway will bring.
The Last Carnival is an entirely new version of Walcott's earlier, unpublished play, In a Fine Castle. It had its American premiere with the Group Theatre Company in Seattle in 1983. Beef, No Chicken premiered at the Yale Repertory Theatre's Winterfest series in 1982. A Branch of the Blue Nile was given its Caribbean premiere by State One in Barbados in 1983.