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It's as if Tracy Letts put preservatives into his play. He quotes poets whose words make more sense after the performance.

Johnna, the native American caretaker, quotes T. S. Eliot's "The Hollow Men": "This is the way the world ends/ This is the way the world ends." But she leaves out how Eliot says it will: "Not with a bang but a whimper."

As Beverly Weston sips whiskey and contemplates American poets who were "Olympian Suicidalists" -- Hart Crane and John Berryman -- Weston quotes the last two lines of Berryman's "The Curse": "By night within that ancient house/ Immense, black, damned, anonymous." They describe the Weston's three-story manse to a T.

The final five lines of "The Curse" almost do the same for the play: "Only the idiot and the dead/ Stand by, while who were young before/ Wage insolent and guilty war/ By night within that ancient house/ Immense, black, damned, anonymous."

Photo on left: Robert Foxworth as Beverly Weston

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