Synopsis (with spoilers!)
Drachman, the janitor at the elementary school attended by the titular character, Claudia, sets the scene in the school boiler room.
Claudia is having trouble fitting in at school. She is about to turn thirteen, is going through puberty, and her parents are divorced. Her favourite days are Mondays, when she goes to her Dad’s house after school.
She has been stealing items from her Dad’s house and bringing them to school to stash in the boiler room. These include the high-heels she found at her Dad’s house, leading to the discovery that he has a “special friend” named Leslie. Claudia does not care for Leslie.
She later overhears her mother on the phone and finds out that her Dad will soon marry Leslie and move with her to another city. They’ve asked her to be the flower girl.
The wedding takes place the day before Claudia’s thirteenth birthday. By the following Tuesday, her father and Leslie have gone on their honeymoon and she has missed her usual Monday with her Dad.
She tells the audience that she had a big, public outburst at the wedding, after which she told her Dad that she’d figured out, from the date on a mug from the conference where her father and Leslie met, that his relationship with Leslie began two years before her parents’ separation.
Claudia thinks that maybe it’s her fault that her Dad left—that maybe he thought she was too ugly. She wonders if she could inspire her parents to reconcile if she becomes prettier, better as she grows up. She is overwhelmed by this thought.
Drachman returns to close the play with an allegory about the self-knowledge one gains through loss.