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August: Osage County

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  7,196 ratings  ·  501 reviews
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 orig
Paperback, 138 pages
Published February 1st 2008 by Theatre Communications Group (first published 2008)
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Angels in America by Tony KushnerAugust by Tracy LettsArcadia by Tom StoppardThe Pillowman by Martin McDonaghThe History Boys by Alan Bennett
Best Plays Since 1990
2nd out of 124 books — 77 voters
Hamlet by William ShakespeareThe Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar WildeMacbeth by William ShakespeareRomeo and Juliet by William ShakespeareA Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
Best Plays Ever
52nd out of 532 books — 670 voters

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Community Reviews

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I stayed up late last night so I could finish reading Tracy Letts’s exquisite play, August: Osage County. I was fortunate enough to see it performed in San Francisco last month. I was especially fortunate to see Estelle Parsons reprise her Broadway role as family matriarch Violet Weston. I just learned that the woman is eighty years old! I can’t believe the things she goes through on that stage night after night. She is truly wondrous, and I think I can say with more than a fair amount of certai ...more
Sep 23, 2008 Amanda rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Amanda by: le bricoleur and other theatre nerds
Oh. My. God. This play deserves every hint of praise and recognition it's ever been given. A perfect blend of realistic household bullshit and and spectacularly weird fuckeduppery, the Weston family grabbed my heart and ripped it out through my tearducts.

How can you know when enough is enough? Or when it's not enough? How do you swim through oceanic waves of family crisis, when the breakers are nothing but violent reflections of your own personal doom? Goddamnit. This play is both human and ani
Aug 08, 2010 Teryl rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: plays
This is a very interesting play, skillfully life-like, but the characters in it don't find their way to any wisdom. I'd like it to start where it ends - with people finding their way out of denial and destruction.
It seems like it's been far too long since we've had a living-room drama play that is actually touching and disturbing and hysterically funny as well. I snorted with laughter and cringed with disgust while reading this. It was easy to imagine it staged, a real plus for script reading!

There are no heroes in this play. There are heroic moments by individuals, but really, no one comes away stronger or better off. A case could be argued for some, I suspect, and it could be staged or played that way,
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Hit the nail on the head with this one. Osage County has been dysfunctionally raw since the beginning. It's a place of treachery, murder and hardship on the macro, and with this contemporary glimpse of the micro this story is well congruous with it's past. The characters are alive. They breathe, and weep and scorn through each and every scene. The plot was so simple that it had to be what it was. The plot was inevitable. And so gracefully so. Oklahoma was never so certain of its ambivalent space ...more
Hennessey Library
After a month of reading She gave him a piercing look...The wind moved through the trees like a restless lion...He gripped the mug and hot coffee sloshed over the table... and long well-written examinations of inner thought and motive, I came to August: Osage County by Tracy Letts with anticipation.


Clean, spare, pointed and well-written.

Dialogue goes straight to this old director's heart. Unfortunately, I didn't like any but three of the characters in this bitter, recriminatory family
Bojan Gacic
A missing, and soon to be found dead, husband and father. A fervent matriarch suffering from a terminal illness. A detached, dysfunctional family gathered to bury a man for whom none of them cultivated a particular understanding. The Westons are finally succumbed to the notion they have been running from, and dreaded most- facing each other.

It is a commonly accepted truth that family can indeed work both ways. Weather it helps you back to your feet, or breaks both your legs, a single fact remain
"One of the last times I spoke with my father, we were talking about...I don't know, the state of the world, something...and he said, 'You know, this country was always pretty much a whorehouse, but at least it used to have some promise. Now it's just a shithole.' And I think now maybe he was talking about something else, something more specific, something more personal to him...this house? This family? His marriage? Himself? I don't know. But there was something sad in his voice - or no, not sa ...more
Families are…complicated. We all know that much. Basically, if Thanksgiving dinners broke out into car chases on an even semi-routine basis, none of us would ever feel compelled to go the movies again because you just can't beat the laughs, tears, sighs and shocks that accompany a gathering of liquored up people that you only even know as a result of genetic happenstance. Sometimes it's awesome, sometimes it's torture, but no matter what happens you end up building some ineradicable (if not heal ...more
May 31, 2010 Kim rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: drama
I know I'm going against popular opinion here, but as I read this play, I felt as if Letts took all the main conflicts from the dysfunctional family Pulitzer plays and rolled them into one long work. As soon as you realize this is a no-holds barred situation, there are no longer any surprises in the play. We can see conflicts and revelations coming from a long way away. Crashing dishes to the floor and screaming does not cover the predictable plot points. There is a dark humor here, which I gene ...more
Shaunaly ~  (A Book Away From An Episode Of Hoarders)
I read this in one sitting because it was that good! A funny yet poignant play! It is a great read for those who have a quirky sense of humor and who enjoy the juxtaposition of amusingly dysfunctional characters set against the backdrop of a darker subject matter. The dialogue between the characters is heart-rendering yet shockingly hilarious. I found myself not only tearing up over numerous passages but also laughing out loud many, many times. As the drama unfolds, we come to understand the hid ...more
This was my first Tracy Letts play and it was a good one. Simply put, this is a dysfunctional family drama. Capital D for dysfunctional; it puts the FUN in dysfunctional.

Okay, now I'm done with the puns.

Tracy Letts is very good with his dialogue. It's quick, smart, and witty. There was hilarity in the inherent tragedy of life. I like the isolation of the play. The Weston house seemed all alone, on another plane of existence. No one was happy. Everybody had weird as all hell problems. The hardest

Πώς έμαθα για το βιβλίο αυτό; Πέρυσι τα Χριστούγεννα στη Μαδρίτη ήθελα να δω μια θεατρική παράσταση. Ξαφνικά βλέπω οτι μια από τις πιο σημαντικές φιγούρες της ισπανικής θεατρικής σκηνής, Amparo Baró βρισκόταν σε έναν από τους πρωταγωνιστικούς ρόλους της παράστασης August. Διάβασα την περίληψη και αμέσως συνειδητοποίησα το πόσο ήθελα να το δω. Για την απογοήτευσή μου τα εισιτήρια είχαν εξαντληθεί για πάνω από ένα μίση μήνα. Έτσι λοιπόν, μου έμεινε απωθημένο
Mark Johnson
This play is a brilliant example of that great rarity: a contemporary American tragedy in the spirit of Sophocles and O'Neill. The three Weston daughters converge - one from the West, one from the East, and one from dead-center - after paterfamilias Beverly commits suicide. Their mother, Violet, is a Lear long since gone mad and wandering the blasted heath of her memories; unlike Lear, her daughters refuse to accept when she offers them their portions of the vitiated realm. In the end, even her ...more
Tracy Letts reintroduces to Broadway a classic American play of familial sins and Midwest panic as the Plains slowly consumes you. Just as Sam Shepard's plays have, the play rings true on American Ideals of expanding away from the family, but haunted by the sins of the parents; and just as Jonathan Franzen's novels, there's schadenfreude-esque hilarity behind the mask of the healthy American Family.

Lasting over three hours, this play grips you in its complexities of relationships, marriages, fam
This is a twisted little story that will remind you that there is always someone else's family that is even more messed up than yours is. Somehow injecting humor into the story of family gathering for a funeral, Letts has put a little bit of every form of family dysfunction into August: Osage County.
Nora Dillonovich
I just finished this. I have yet to formulate solid thoughts (I like thoughts and stools to be more solid than loose, but prefer them out of my system within 24 hours, so am willing to make allowances) and am still operating in a shocked and awed state. My head reels, my shoulders are tense... I think I want some muscle relaxants, a glass of bourbon and an Indian to bring me some catfish. It's about a 90 minute read people, just find a copy and do it yourselves. It was akin to being surrounded b ...more
This award winning play is dark and intense. It touches on a lot of family issues. How do families communicate or grow apart when they live thousands of miles away? What is the best way to care for ailing parents? Ahh yes and what happens when people who are related, but don't necessarily get along all convene at a table together! Read it and find out.

I wish I could have seen this play in person. The story has surprises and realistic and biting dialogue. The stage directions and descriptions pa
August:Osage County is a play- a Pulitzer Prize Winner- that is about to be in the theaters with an all star cast including Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Dermot Mulroney, Ewan McGregor, etc. The play itself is short, about 147 pages, and easy to read. It details the lives of a small-town Oklahoma family- the aging parents, 3 daughters, and various husbands, fiances, and cousins. The family is dysfunctional at it's funnest. The mother, in particular, is a piece of work- all readers will read about ...more
I agree with the reviewer who said that it seems like Letts took every dysfunctional family staple and assigned that role to a character and let fly. There was just too much that was predictable in their dysfunction.
Not quite as armpit-dark as I was expecting. Kane and McDonagh have broken me for all time.

I feel like its power was somewhat diminished by the fact that the last play I read before this was Long Day's Journey into etc. and that Long Day's is itself the mirror-image twin of Salesman, but once I started reading, I couldn't stop, and its little hooks snagged in my heart just often enough.


JOHNNA: He had a heart attack. Fell into a flatbed truck full of wine grapes.
BEVERLY: Wine grapes. In Oklahom
Christian Engler
Winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, August: Osage County is a sweeping southern gothic theatrical three act magnum opus of a play that takes family dysfunction to a whole new unthinkable level; peppered with a vast array of characters-thirteen to be precise-who represent three circles of different family groupings but who, entwined together, comprise one giant whole family under the umbrella of the matriarchs, Beverly and Violet Weston, this is a drama where hidden pain, unfulfilled dr ...more
I had been on the library e-book waiting list for this since before the movie (which I have not seen) came out. I was happy to finally get my turn. For the first two acts, this was a solid 4 star read, but I think it lost a ½ star in the final act. Since everyone else seems to be rounding up with this one, I will round down because I was frustrated with the turn it took.

The writing is fantastic, the characters extremely well drawn. It is not an easy feat to bring a story and characters to life i
Lauren Munoz
There are a lot of good things about this play. As I read it, I could vividly imagine it acted on stage. It made me laugh and gasp and shake my head. There were a lot of good lines and a lot of messed up characters. But the problem is that its construction rang false. By the end, I thought to myself "I know exactly how Tracy Letts wrote this play--he made a list of the worst possible human flaws and then assigned all of them to characters, leaving nothing out." It almost strikes me as a lack of ...more
I haven't read a play since high school, but wanted to read this before the movie comes out. It was a quick easy read and I actually enjoyed the set notes and dialogue between the characters. I think as a play or even movie, the performances of the actors would be amazing. The story itself is sad and dark, though there are tiny bits of comedy. Just when I thought the family couldn't get any more dysfunctional, they did!
How does a person jump in the water…and choose not to swim?

August: Osage County
by Tracy Letts
152 pages, Theatre Communications Group, February 2008

Raise your hands: how many of you knew this was a play before it was a movie?

I’m hoping for lots of hands. That would make me all kinds of happy.

I was interested in seeing this movie, and friend D. (who is my MOST theatery friend – as in, he’s a talent agent, and lives in New York City, and knows the fanciest of people, but is still the same pers
Karen S
Hard! funny, spiteful, loving, trying (both senses of the word), and probably 96 other adjectives. Saw play years ago; just saw film w/M Streep, J Roberts, Sam Shepard. All of the versions are hard, funny, spiteful, loving... (Warning: language also hard; not quite as 'bad' as Mamet's, but maybe only because the most talkative characters are women and maybe they don't want to use ALL those words so much...)

Very powerful!
Keith Moser
Enjoyed this play, but there's only one role for me: 37-year-old Little Charles... I might have liked it more if it were a meatier role or if the entire cast weren't in their fifties... Oh well, I'll probably enjoy seeing this on a local stage from the audience.

It has very interesting characters with a lot of good drama and comedy. I think I might like to audition for it in ~20 years...
Me ha gustado más que la película aunque no difiere demasiado de ella. De todas formas, creo que había oído hablar tan tan bien de esta historia que no he podido evitar sentir una cierta decepción. Me hubiera gustado que algunas de las escenas se prolongaran más y otras quizá las hubiera suprimido. No ha estado mal pero no me ha parecido para tirar cohetes.
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Tracy Letts is an American playwright and actor who received the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play August: Osage County.

Letts was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma to best-selling author Billie Letts, of Where The Heart Is and The Honk And Holler Opening Soon fame, and the late college professor and actor Dennis Letts. His brother Shawn is a jazz musician and composer. He also has a brother Dana. L
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“Thank God we can't tell the future. We'd never get out of bed.” 70 likes
“I don't know what it says about me that I have a greater affinity with the damaged. Probably nothing good.” 37 likes
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