True West (play)

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True West (play)_table_infobox_0

True WestTrue West (play)_header_cell_0_0_0
Written byTrue West (play)_header_cell_0_1_0 Sam ShepardTrue West (play)_cell_0_1_1
CharactersTrue West (play)_header_cell_0_2_0 Austin

Lee Mom Saul KimmerTrue West (play)_cell_0_2_1

Date premieredTrue West (play)_header_cell_0_3_0 July 10, 1980 (1980-July-10)True West (play)_cell_0_3_1
Place premieredTrue West (play)_header_cell_0_4_0 Magic Theatre, San Francisco, CaliforniaTrue West (play)_cell_0_4_1
Original languageTrue West (play)_header_cell_0_5_0 EnglishTrue West (play)_cell_0_5_1
GenreTrue West (play)_header_cell_0_6_0 DramaTrue West (play)_cell_0_6_1

True West is a play by American playwright Sam Shepard. True West (play)_sentence_0

Some critics consider it the third of a Family Trilogy which includes Curse of the Starving Class (1976) and Buried Child (1979). True West (play)_sentence_1

Others consider it part of a quintet which includes Fool for Love (1983) and A Lie of the Mind (1985). True West (play)_sentence_2

True West was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1983. True West (play)_sentence_3

Characters True West (play)_section_0

True West (play)_unordered_list_0

  • Austin – A Hollywood screenwriter. He is well educated and has a wife and children.True West (play)_item_0_0
  • Lee – A drifter and a thief, he is Austin's older brother.True West (play)_item_0_1
  • Mom – Austin and Lee's mother.True West (play)_item_0_2
  • Saul Kimmer – A Hollywood producer.True West (play)_item_0_3

Plot True West (play)_section_1

Act One True West (play)_section_2

True West is about the sibling rivalry between two estranged brothers who have reconnected. True West (play)_sentence_4

The play begins with brothers Austin and Lee sitting in their mother's house. True West (play)_sentence_5

This is the first time they've seen one another in five years. True West (play)_sentence_6

The two are not on good terms, but Austin attempts to appease his older brother, who is more dominant. True West (play)_sentence_7

We learn that their mother is on vacation in Alaska and that Austin is house sitting. True West (play)_sentence_8

Austin is trying to work on his screenplay but Lee continually distracts him with nonsense questions. True West (play)_sentence_9

The two brothers seem on edge with one another. True West (play)_sentence_10

When Austin suggests that Lee leave, Lee threatens to steal things from the neighborhood. True West (play)_sentence_11

Austin calms him down and the night ends with the two of them on neutral. True West (play)_sentence_12

Lee talks about the security level of their mother's house, and how Lee went into the desert to find their dad. True West (play)_sentence_13

Austin then tells Lee to leave the house because a film producer, Saul, is coming by to look at Austin's screenplay (described as a “period piece”). True West (play)_sentence_14

Lee agrees to leave in exchange for Austin's car keys. True West (play)_sentence_15

Austin is reluctant at first but eventually relents and Lee promises that he will have it back by six. True West (play)_sentence_16

Lee departs. True West (play)_sentence_17

Saul and Austin are discussing their agreement when Lee enters with a stolen television set. True West (play)_sentence_18

Saul and Lee discuss golf and make plans to play the next day, excluding Austin because he doesn't play, despite his desire that Lee have nothing to do with Saul. True West (play)_sentence_19

Lee proposes a script idea to Saul and Saul reacts positively. True West (play)_sentence_20

Lee describes his story out loud. True West (play)_sentence_21

Austin writes it down, but stops, saying it doesn't resemble real life. True West (play)_sentence_22

The two brothers quarrel and Austin asks Lee for his car keys back. True West (play)_sentence_23

Lee assumes Austin is trying to make him leave, and Lee says he can't be kicked out. True West (play)_sentence_24

Austin says he wouldn't kick him out because he's his brother. True West (play)_sentence_25

Lee counters that being brothers means nothing because in-family murders are most common. True West (play)_sentence_26

Austin assures him they won't be driven to murder over a movie script. True West (play)_sentence_27

The two admit to being envious of each other's lives, Lee returns the car keys and the scene closes with Austin typing Lee's story. True West (play)_sentence_28

Act Two True West (play)_section_3

Lee returns from his golf game at noon, with a set of golf clubs that Saul has given him. True West (play)_sentence_29

He tells Austin that the clubs are part of an advance that Saul has promised him for the story idea outline that he "dictated" to Austin. True West (play)_sentence_30

They celebrate until Lee informs Austin that he expects Austin to write the screenplay. True West (play)_sentence_31

Austin questions this, knowing he has his own work, but Lee goes on to inform him that Saul has chosen to drop Austin's screenplay. True West (play)_sentence_32

Austin warns Lee that he needs to be careful with messing about with this line of work and that he has a lot at stake on his own project. True West (play)_sentence_33

The scene ends with Austin threatening to leave and go to the desert as Lee tries to calm him down. True West (play)_sentence_34

Austin confronts Saul about his decision to buy Lee's screenplay. True West (play)_sentence_35

He argues that Saul only offered to buy the screenplay because he lost a bet on the golf course. True West (play)_sentence_36

Saul wants Austin to write both his and Lee's story, but Austin refuses. True West (play)_sentence_37

Austin thinks that Lee's story is without merit or plausibility. True West (play)_sentence_38

Due to Austin's rejection of the job, Saul decides to drop Austin's story and to find a different writer for Lee's story. True West (play)_sentence_39

The scene ends with Saul making plans for lunch with Lee. True West (play)_sentence_40

Austin is drunk and annoying Lee, who is now at the typewriter, laboriously trying, hunt-and-peck style, to type out a screenplay. True West (play)_sentence_41

Austin taunts his brother with advice and says that this is the first time he has enjoyed spending time with Lee since he arrived. True West (play)_sentence_42

He insists that Lee is not a real screenwriter, and when Lee informs him that he has an advance coming on his script, Austin claims he could burgle houses just as well as Lee can. True West (play)_sentence_43

Lee bets that he couldn't even steal a toaster, but they can't agree on the stakes. True West (play)_sentence_44

Instead Lee asks in earnest for Austin's help with the technical parts of the writing, offering to pay him money and then disappear like their father did and leave Austin alone. True West (play)_sentence_45

Austin argues about how well their father ended up, and the scene closes as they drink together. True West (play)_sentence_46

Austin is polishing toasters that he stole while Lee is smashing a typewriter early in the morning. True West (play)_sentence_47

The two continue to do this while they are carrying on a conversation. True West (play)_sentence_48

Austin is proud of what he has done. True West (play)_sentence_49

Lee wants to see a woman, but Austin refuses because he is married. True West (play)_sentence_50

Lee throws a fit while on the phone with the operator because he cannot find a pen to write down what the operator is saying. True West (play)_sentence_51

In his search for a pen or pencil, Lee strews the contents of all the kitchen drawers on the floor. True West (play)_sentence_52

Austin begs Lee to go to the desert with him because he thinks there is nothing for him where he is. True West (play)_sentence_53

The brothers make a deal that Austin will write the play for Lee if Lee takes him to the desert. True West (play)_sentence_54

In the final scene, the house is in shambles, and Lee and Austin are working vigorously on their script when their mother walks in the door, suitcases in hand. True West (play)_sentence_55

She stares at her sons, mouth agape, until Lee finally notices her. True West (play)_sentence_56

She is stunned by her sons' appearance and the state of her house. True West (play)_sentence_57

Austin tells her that he and Lee are going to take off into the desert, but Lee says they might have to postpone the trip because he doesn't think Austin is cut out for the desert life-style. True West (play)_sentence_58

Austin responds by attempting to strangle Lee with the telephone cord, and their mother storms out of the house. True West (play)_sentence_59

Lee ceases struggling and lies inert, and Austin finally lets go. True West (play)_sentence_60

He is worried for a second that he's killed his brother. True West (play)_sentence_61

As Austin moves for the door, Lee rises with fire in his eyes. True West (play)_sentence_62

The two brothers face one another, fists raised, as the lights fade. True West (play)_sentence_63

Productions True West (play)_section_4

True West was first performed at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco, where Shepard was the resident playwright. True West (play)_sentence_64

It had its world premiere there on July 10, 1980. True West (play)_sentence_65

It was originally directed by Robert Woodruff and starred Peter Coyote as Austin, Jim Haynie as Lee, Tom Dahlgren as Saul Kimmer, and Carol McElheney as Mom. True West (play)_sentence_66

The production moved from the Magic Theatre to the Marines Memorial Theatre in San Francisco in 1981. True West (play)_sentence_67

Ebbe Roe Smith replaced Peter Coyote as Austin. True West (play)_sentence_68

This production premiered Off-Broadway at Joseph Papp's The Public Theater, opening on December 23, 1980 and closing on January 11, 1981. True West (play)_sentence_69

The play starred Tommy Lee Jones and Peter Boyle and was directed by Robert Woodruff. True West (play)_sentence_70

It was produced by the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in 1982, with then fairly unknown actors Gary Sinise (who also directed the production) and John Malkovich playing the leads. True West (play)_sentence_71

With Shepard's approval, this production transferred to Off-Broadway, where it opened at Cherry Lane Theatre in October 1982. True West (play)_sentence_72

It closed on August 4, 1984 after 762 performances, and, later in the run, the leads were taken over by Bruce Lyons, James Belushi, Gary Cole, Tim Matheson, Erik Estrada, Dennis Quaid and Randy Quaid. True West (play)_sentence_73

A television movie of the stage play, featuring Sinise and Malkovich, aired on the PBS series "American Playhouse" in January 1984. True West (play)_sentence_74

Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C. Reilly played the leads on Broadway, where they switched parts every so often during the run. True West (play)_sentence_75

The play opened at the Circle in the Square Theatre on February 17, 2000 and closed on July 29, 2000 after 154 performances and 21 previews. True West (play)_sentence_76

The director Matthew Warchus requested that the Tony Administration Committee consider Hoffman and Reilly as a single unit for Tony nominations, but the Committee decided that they would be considered separately. True West (play)_sentence_77

Both Hoffman and Reilly each received a nomination. True West (play)_sentence_78

This revival was also nominated for Best Play and Best Director (Matthew Warchus). True West (play)_sentence_79

James Sayess is known for being the first actor to use scissors to thin out his hair and professionally have random hairs dyed gray in order to accurately portray an older and age-appropriate Lee in The York Shakespeare Company off-Broadway production at Theatre 54 in New York City. True West (play)_sentence_80

Bruce Willis and Chad Smith starred in a filmed version of the play, which was aired on Showtime in August 2002. True West (play)_sentence_81

The play was filmed in front of a live audience and directed by Gary Halvorson with Andrew Alburger and Danielle Kennedy in supporting roles. True West (play)_sentence_82

The play was revived on Broadway at the American Airlines Theatre by the Roundabout Theatre Company, entering previews on December 27, 2018 and officially opening on January 24, 2019. True West (play)_sentence_83

It is directed by James Macdonald and stars Ethan Hawke as Lee and Paul Dano as Austin. True West (play)_sentence_84

International and regional productions True West (play)_section_5

The play was produced in London by the Royal National Theatre at the Cottesloe Theatre, opening on December 3, 1981. True West (play)_sentence_85

Directed by John Schlesinger, the cast starred Bob Hoskins as Lee and Antony Sher as Austin, with Patricia Hayes as Mom. True West (play)_sentence_86

The Donmar Warehouse presented the play in 1994, starring Mark Rylance and Michael Rudko, directed by Matthew Warchus. True West (play)_sentence_87

Sheridan Morley wrote: "... this is really a two-man play and as Rylance and Rudko prowl around each other, giving two of the best-contrasted and indeed best performances in town, 'True West' seems somehow a much stronger, funnier and more savage play than I recall from its first National outing over here in the early 1980s." True West (play)_sentence_88

The production began at the Quarry Theatre in Leeds. True West (play)_sentence_89

Matt Wolf called the Donmar Warehouse production a "blazing revival", "one of the best-attended of [Sam] Mendes' early years." True West (play)_sentence_90

The male leads swapped roles every 3 or 4 performances. True West (play)_sentence_91

Wilson Milam directed a production at the Bristol Old Vic in November 2003, with Phil Daniels as Lee and Andrew Tiernan as Austin. True West (play)_sentence_92

The British Theatre Guide reviewer noted: "The design, by Dick Bird, who was responsible for the much-admired Great Expectations at the Old Vic earlier this year, is excellent. True West (play)_sentence_93

White framed windows opening on to a patio area with plants, furniture and skies beyond." True West (play)_sentence_94

The production replaced the smashing of a typewriter with a modern working laptop, and used 20 working toasters. True West (play)_sentence_95

The production caused the Bristol Old Vic to remove the first 3 rows of seats for fear that the audience would be harmed and installed a Perspex shield for safety reasons. True West (play)_sentence_96

It did however receive much critical acclaim from the British National Press and was cited as Pick of the Week in The Guardian newspaper (October 27, November 2, 2003). True West (play)_sentence_97

Soulpepper, Toronto's largest theatre company, presented Patricia Hamilton, Stuart Hughes and Mike Ross in a production directed by Nancy Palk at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, running in April – May 2013. True West (play)_sentence_98

Pittsburgh Public Theater's production was directed by Pamela Berlin, with Ken Barnett (Austin) and David Mogentale (Lee), running from November 7 through December 8, 2013, at the O'Reilly Theater. True West (play)_sentence_99

Citizen's Theatre, Glasgow presented True West in October 29 – November 16, 2013, directed by Philip Breen, starring Alex Ferns and Eugene O'Hare. True West (play)_sentence_100

This production ran at the Tricycle Theatre, London in September 2014. True West (play)_sentence_101

Ivy Arts Centre, University of Surrey, 24 February 2015, performed by Lone Twin. True West (play)_sentence_102

The Plank Theatre Company produced the play at the Complex Theatre in Hollywood, California. True West (play)_sentence_103

(Oct. 2017) The actors, Jacob Grodnik and Drake Shannon alternated the roles of "Austin" and "Lee" each performance. True West (play)_sentence_104

"Saul" was performed by Mishone Feigin, and the "Mom" was played by Melissa Jobe. True West (play)_sentence_105

The Vaudeville Theatre in London presented the first West End production of the play which ran from 23 November 2018 to 23 February 2019. True West (play)_sentence_106

Directed by Matthew Dunster, the production starred Kit Harington as Austin and Johnny Flynn as Lee. True West (play)_sentence_107

The latest production is currently on Broadway at the Roundabout Theater Company with Ethan Hawke, and Paul Dano. True West (play)_sentence_108


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/True West (play).