The fictional time of Dead Men Grinning at the Moon is the early 1600s in London. A few rough tables and benches represent the public house of George Wilkins and outside a courtroom. There are two men—Wilkins, 30s, and Shakespeare, 40s—and one woman, Mary, 20s. Wilkins asks Shakespeare if he will help him with a play he is writing. Shakespeare says he does not collaborate. Mary tells Wilkins that Shakespeare used to live at her house and taught her to read. Wilkins threatens to evict Mary and her husband Steve, forcing Shakespeare to read his play, Pericles, Prince of Tyre. Lights dim and come up on Mary singing and cleaning the table. She tells Wilkins that her husband is working late and Wilkins suggests that she could make money easily. Shakespeare enters and Mary offers to heat up some roast beef and gravy for him. Shakespeare puts the manuscript on the table and says that he read it. Wilkins asks if it is any good and Shakespeare says something struck him about the fate of the daughters in the play. Wilkins threatens Mary. and Shakespeare agrees to help with revisions. Wilkins admits that his father wrote the first play but he needs Shakespeare’s help with the new play.