Letts, Tracy. August: Osage County. Dramatists Play Service Inc. 2007.
I chose to read the play August: Osage County because I was interested in trying out a new genre of literature. My friend, Bailey requested I read this play and now I completely understand why. August: Osage County was so interesting I only wish I could see it performed on a stage. The play was also very challenging to read for many reasons; just because it was short doesn’t mean it wasn’t a difficult read. The hardest part about this play would have to be trying to keep all the characters straight. I also found it hard to tell when characters were being sarcastic or if they were really saying what they felt.
The hardest part about reading this play was trying to remember who was who. I was having a terrible time keeping track of whose husband/wife a character was and whose sister had a kid named Charles and so on. One thing I found that helped me was the casting page in the front of the play. It had a list of all the characters and told me exactly who this person was married to and how old they were with however many kids. However even with this page, it was still extremely difficult and confusing keeping the characters straight. When it would switch scenes, new people would enter the story line and I would have to, over and over, turn back to the front of the play to figure out who each character was. I feel as if reading books is easier because you’re only in one person’s point of view at a time and much of a book is thought and feelings rather than dialogue.
Another thing that was difficult with reading this play was the inflection. There was a lot of tension between the characters and sometimes I couldn’t tell if the characters were being nice, sarcastic, angry, or any other emotion we as people portray through the inflection in our voices and expressions on our faces. Because the play was written in the mind set of it being seen and not to be read as a book, I found it difficult knowing what mood the characters were in. This made reading difficult, because I didn’t know which characters I could trust to be telling the truth and which ones were always sarcastic and the jokesters. Also just the fact that I’m not used to reading dialogue made the experience far more challenging and new.
The last challenging aspect of this play was the medical jargon. In the play, one of the lead characters had cancer of the mouth. Throughout the play they would bring up her condition and sometimes they would use words I had never heard before. Also, sometimes because she had cancer in her mouth she wouldn’t always be speaking clearly. When these instances came up, the words would be misspelled and slurred so to show that she could not talk to the full capacity of other people, without cancer of the mouth. This sometimes made reading difficult because there were a few instances where I couldn’t tell what she was supposed to be saying.
All challenges aside this was a very interesting play. I really liked having the opportunity to try a different genre of literature and I am very interested to try reading some other plays in the future. I would definitely recommend this play to anyone who enjoys a good soap opera, for I imagine on stage, this play would be very dramatic and theatrical. It was a great choice to read and because it, like so many other plays, was so short, I recommend everyone try reading a play at least once in their life.