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August: Osage County

by Tracy Letts

I am currently on the Bolt Bus on my way to Boston for the weekend and the a/c is broken. It's raining outside so our driver is blasting his heat in order to see out the window. Needless to say, it's not pleasant. And yet, somehow the perfect environment to finish Letts' pressure-cooker of a play. The Weston house is really just a large Bolt Bus, overheated and cramped.

Before I went to Alabama, I landed free tix to see Mr. Letts' Superior Donuts, which I enjoyed very much. I am consistently amazed at his versatility as a playwright. August struck me as a universal story of american experience - granted, our families may not all be so extreme in their issues, but I bet everyone can relate to some part of this story. There were more than a few times where I laughed ironically in recognition of some sentiment or lack thereof.

Something that struck me was the idea of "family secrets." All families keep things from each other. And most, I suspect, do so because they think they are protecting each other from something or someone. Barbara has a line, "Thank God we can't tell the future. We'd never get out of bed." Perhaps if we all knew the truth, it would save a lot of future heartbreak.

On an unrelated note, I have to applaud Mr. Letts for writing such amazing roles for women in this piece, and older women at that! What an amazing challenge that I can look forward to someday tackling, if I'm lucky!

Saturday Play-a-day: Man of La Mancha .. that's right, it's musical time people.

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