The play starts in present day Germany. THOMAS CROSSING is a brilliant young concert pianist. He has been driven on by his mother ANITA, who wants nothing else than to raise a genius. THOMAS is growing bored of the piano, and wants to live his own life. And he wants to know who his father really is - or was. He starts writing plays without his mother knowing. ANITA even hires a prostitute called KATARINA, so that THOMAS may not be distracted from his career by the need for women. MAX is a former concert pianist whose hands were crippled after being frozen during imprisonment in Prague in 1968 (after the Soviet tanks invaded the country). MAX is now a drunkard and a shabby piano tuner. He too happens to use the services of KATARINA in his erotic longing of lost love in Prague twenty years back. THOMAS calls MAX (not knowing that he is his father) to his flat to fix the piano that he is using to rehearse for his "big break" concert later that year in the Albert Hall, London. The two men drink and MAX reveals that he possibly knew ANITA before she fled Prague years ago. MAX feels very much betrayed by ANITA and blames her in his mind for escaping with another man, ZACK, a mediocre cellist and aristocrat, and for keeping his own son, THOMAS, from him. He vows to gain his revenge by bringing THOMAS down. THOMAS (not being aware of anything) shows MAX his secret play and MAX tells him that it is good (which is a lie) and that he will ask his friends (which he doesn't have) in London to produce it. Thus the action moves to London. THOMAS is encouraged by MAX to pursue the writing. THOMAS sees his chance to escape his mother's control and plots not to give the "big break" concert, but a theatre premiere of his own instead! In a climactic scene MAX and ANITA confront each other, in front of THOMAS. It is revealed to THOMAS that MAX is THOMAS's father. MAX is suddenly full of remorse and admits that the play is rubbish and that there is no producer or 'angels' working to put it up. THOMAS, not yet realizing the facts, decides to be free from piano playing for good and to this end, he breaks his hand by slamming the piano lid down on it. Then KATARINA arrives. After being denied access to the flat by MAX she climbs through the window. She declares that she is pregnant by THOMAS and demands to be provided for. ANITA thinks furiously for a moment and then calmly says that the Albert Hall concert is postponed for twenty years. She will provide for KATARINA and look after the child, on the condition that she may raise her/him as yet another piano genius, in THOMAS's place. Now THOMAS disagrees strongly, for the first time in his life, and decides to marry KATARINA and raise a family and work his way through life. The new couple leaves, determined. ANITA and MAX settle their differences and ANITA decides to attach himself to her long lost lover. They agree to go into business jointly, as ANITA had ironically expressed, by setting up "The Maxian Piano Tuners". Max plays the final of Chopin's F-major Polonese and dies in ANITA's arms.