Thank you both for your interest. And Karl, I'll really have to start paying much more attention to your own thread, but at 324 pages it's a bit overwhelming.
Meanwhile, since my new play is not yet written (if it ever will be) and a lot could change, here is a detailed synopsis for anyone who cares to comment:
The Smartest, Handsomest, Most Talented Boy in the World (Except His Twin)
Characters (3M, 2F): Twin1, Twin2, Mother, Mentor/Father, Twin2’s Wife
The title comes from a phrase that a mother speaks to her son, and therefore it may be either totally ironic or have some basis. Two twins, both intensely competitive and intensely devoted to each other, are driven to succeed academically, romantically, and above all creatively. But Twin2, a composer, appears to have the stronger talent than Twin1, an artist.
Artistic ambitions run in the family, but Mother (who has had a modestly successful career singing opera), has concealed from the twins the fact that their father killed himself when they were very young, after a promised major exhibition was cancelled without explanation or notice. Concerned that the twins may not be able to support themselves, and fearing that a strain of depression may run in the family, she condones their artistic interests only if they also study for financially remunerative careers when in college. Meanwhile, Mother has created a family environment that is sometimes supportive, other times severely critical, and both boys suffer from their mother's emotional extremes.
During their college years both boys major in practical things: accounting for Twin1, and biology/pre-med for Twin2; at the same time they study with capable artistic teachers. But while Twin1's teacher expects little of him and sees him as a respectable plodder, Twin2's mentor puts him through grueling if exciting paces that only stimulate his decision following sophomore year to make music his life.
Alarmed, Mother refuses to pay any further for Twin2's education. Seeing this has no effect, Mother confronts Mentor to tell him that Twin2 has lost interest in composing. At the same time she tells Twin2 that Mentor has decided he is insufficiently talented for him to retain as a student. Twin2 is devastated, transfers to another school to avoid any further contact with Mentor, and deletes all his music files and shreds all printouts, causing a temporary rift with Twin1 who feels his brother is being foolish in destroying his work and bending to their mother's will.
But concerned for his financial security and about to marry the girl he loves, Twin2 decides to pursue the career in medicine his mother advises. Twin1 on the other hand, unwilling to give up on his artistic ambitions, severs all ties with his mother and declares an art studio major himself. The rift between the twins is mended after graduation when Twin2 finds Twin1 living in near squalor with five roommates in a barely heated apartment that also serves as his studio. Unwilling to bear seeing his brother suffer, Twin2 takes him into his home. Meanwhile, Twin2 maintains a distant and guarded relationship with his mother, who complains endlessly about Twin1's failure.
(Intermission about here, if at all)