Summary: Higher-ups in the Republican Party persuade Grant Matthews that he should seriously consider running for President. This plea appeals to his large ego; but before he can make this happen, he must repair tenuous relations with his wife, potentially leave his mistress and figure out what his political views actually are.
Thoughts: Like political drama that has come after it (The West Wing, The American President), the pace of this play is extremely quick and is aided both by people talking over each other and the physical movements of someone being handled and shuttled from place-to-place very quickly. Everyone in this play has some sort of agenda and most of them are trying to hide it from Mr. Matthews, most notably his shrewd and funny wife Mary. Everything goes to hell in an unseen dinner scene where Mary is seated next to Kay Thorndyke (Matthew’s mistress) and has had a few too many cocktails (it is the night of their anniversary, after all).
Clearly, State of the Union is a title with multiple meanings; and ultimately, it is revealed that Matthews will have to sacrifice governing one Union in order to live comfortably in another.