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True West

            After watching True West, I left confused about the actual plot and purpose that the play was trying to get across. After some thought and a re-reading of my notes, I realized that Sam Shepard created a play that is ultimately obsessive and personal. I left the play feeling that everything else is somehow sentimental. The movie/play was somewhat sickening with the destruction of a mothers" house. The demolition of a typewriter with a golf club, and squashing toast bring me to a sketchy edge of how things can quickly turn the opposite. Of course, the main drama in the play comes from the classic good boy vs. bad boy sibling rivalry. .
             Austin, a screenwriter, is house-sitting in his mother's suburban California home while she is on a sightseeing trip to Alaska. His irresponsible brother, Lee, has appeared on the scene unexpectedly and wants to share the house. Lee is a rolling stone and small-time criminal of televisions. He has spent the previous six months in the desert with their alcoholic, down-and-out father. Austin is disciplined, striving for a job as a screenwriter. Lee is uneducated, messy, aggressive, envious and bitter. What transpires is that the uneducated, envious Lee invites Austin's Hollywood producer for a round of golf, sells him on a story idea for a "modern western" and totally displaces his hard working brother, who as a result falls into an emotional wreck. This power struggle brings a role reversal. What became evident during the progress of the play was that Austin was not scared of Lee. He is paranoid about being displaced by his brother and of giving in to that dark side of himself, which eventually shows through in his actions. Austin longs for the same experience that Lee has been a part of. The relationship between the two will never be satisfied, because one always wants what the other has. In this case, at the end of the movie, Austin wants a life of freedom in the desert, while Lee wants the life as a screenwriter.

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