The play concerns characters in a psychiatric hospital in which the distinctions between patients and staff gradually blur. The play is written in an absurdist style reminiscent of Beckett and Ionesco, and eschews linear plot in favor of a non-traditional exploration of such themes as empathy, personal identity, fear of death, and the seeming impossibility of meaningful communication. In line with the transformation of identities, the eponymous room of the first act becomes a vaguely defined motel room in the second. As a single memorable example of the absurdist tone of the piece, one of the asylum patients of the first act appears in the second act as Figure in Straitjacket, performing as a television set for the bulk of the remaining action.
DeLillo stated in a New York Times interview about the play that
I began to sense a connection, almost a metaphysical connection, between the craft of acting and the fear we all have of dying. It seemed to me that actors are a kind of model for the ways in which we hide from the knowledge we inevitably possess of our final extinction. There's a sense in which actors teach us how to hide.