August: Osage County, Tracy Letts’ "rambling and entertaining black comedy involving those essential props of American family life—child abuse, alcoholism, drug dependency, divorce, incest, pedophilia, nymphomania and suicide," as the Observer’s John Heilpern called it in his December review, has received a 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Ms. Heilpern called the play, currently being staged at the Imperial Theatre, "a bold commitment on Broadway." But Mr. Heilpern wasn’t a huge fan. "For all Mr. Letts’s undeniable talent and daring, his play is a melodramatic potboiler," he wrote. "It overreaches for metaphoric significance about the shaky, divided state of America. The circular pop psychology that explains the festering wounds of the Weston family is reductively neat. The many characters hold little or nothing in reserve; they reveal savage emotions, but no mystery." We guess the Pulitzer committee didn’t ageree.
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