August: Osage County
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Winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama
“A tremendous achievement in American playwriting: a tragicomic populist portrait of a tough land and a tougher people.”—Time Out New York
“Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County is what O’Neill would be writing in 2007. Letts has recaptured the nobility of American drama’s mid-century heyday while still creating something entirely original.”—New York magazine
One of the most bracing and critically acclaimed plays in recent Broadway history, August: Osage County is a portrait of the dysfunctional American family at its finest—and absolute worst. When the patriarch of the Weston clan disappears one hot summer night, the family reunites at the Oklahoma homestead, where long-held secrets are unflinchingly and uproariously revealed. The three-act, three-and-a-half-hour mammoth of a play combines epic tragedy with black comedy, dramatizing three generations of unfulfilled dreams and leaving not one of its thirteen characters unscathed. After its sold-out Chicago premiere, the play has electrified audiences in New York since its opening in November 2007.
Tracy Letts is the author of Killer Joe, Bug, and Man from Nebraska, which was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. His plays have been performed throughout the country and internationally. A performer as well as a playwright, Letts is a member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, where August: Osage County premiered.
right now. Let’s not revisit all this. BARBARA: Revisit, when did we visit this to begin with? You pulled the rug out from under me. I still don’t know what happened. Do I bore you, intimidate you, disgust you? Is this just about the pleasures of young flesh, teenage pussy? I really need to know. BILL: You need to know now? You want to have this discussion with Beverly missing, and your mother as crazy as a loon, and our daughter twenty feet away? Do you really want to do this now?
something, “Horse’s Heads Were Toward Eternity . . .” (She takes a pill.) That’s for me . . . one for me . . . (She picks up the hardback copy of Meadowlark, flips to the dedication.) “Dedicated to my Violet.” Put that one in marble. (She drops the book on the desk. She takes a pill.) For the girls, God love ’em. That’s all I can dedicate to you, sorry to say. Other than them . . . not one thing. No thing. You think I’ll weep for you? Think I’ll play that part, like
something, a very long life, especially in those days. And he was only in his thirties when he wrote it so he must’ve had some inside dope. Give the devil his due. Very few poets could’ve made it through his . . . his trial and come out on the other side, brilliantined and double-breasted and Anglican. Not hard to imagine, faced with Eliot’s first wife, lovely Viv, how Hart Crane or John Berryman might’ve reacted, just foot-raced to the nearest bridge, Olympian Suicidalists. Not Eliot:
does it mean “young bird”? JOHNNA: Yes. BEVERLY: And taking the name, that was your choice? JOHNNA: Mm-hm. BEVERLY (Raising his glass): Cheers. (Violet calls from offstage.) VIOLET (Offstage): Bev . . . ? BEVERLY (To himself):By night within that ancient house Immense, black, damned, anonymous. (Lights up, dimly, on the second-floor landing. Just out of bed, wearing wrinkled clothes, smoking a Winston, Violet squints down the darkened stairway.) VIOLET: Bev!
and stood him up and sent your sister instead. MATTIE FAE: That’s an introduction. That’s what an introduction is. CHARLIE: I just don’t think it’s accurate to say— MATTIE FAE: He was too old for me and anyway, Violet? “Shrinking Violet?” She couldn’t meet a man on her own. CHARLIE: No one ever called her “Shrinking Violet”— MATTIE FAE: And Charlie and your father always got on real well. They used to go on fishing trips together. IVY: I know. MATTIE FAE: But when Beverly