Jay Allen Sanford 6:52 a.m., Dec. 5
Literary August: Osage County
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
More like this:
- Insights from within: Robert Foxworth — June 12, 2013
- Tracy Letts's August: Osage County at the Old Globe — May 18, 2011
- A Jew and and the California Dream — March 29, 2007
- Missionary Man — May 4, 2006
- Left Behind — July 8, 2004