1. Plot (synopsis)

The setting is the kitchen and the adjoining alcove of Austin´s mother´s home in a Southern California suburb, about forty miles east of Los Angeles. As she is on vacation in Alaska, Austin has left his wife and family in Northern California to housesit his mother's suburban home. While he is working on a movie script for Saul Kimmer, a Hollywood producer, his brother, Lee, a drifter and thief, who has just spent three months on the Mojave desert, arrives and pesters him. The drama starts with a silent stand-off between the two brothers. Austin asks Lee to leave the house when his movie producer comes to visit him later in the day. However, Lee finally succeeds in attracting Kimmer´s interest to his simple idea for a modern western which the producer finally accepts at the expense of Austin´s movie script. Even worse, Saul expects Austin to write the screenplay for Lee's ridiculous western.

Gradually the brothers begin to transform into one another. Like his father, who has run away from his life in the town and now lives out in the desert, Austin begins to be attracted by the desert, though his life has been domestic and respectable up to this point. During the night he steals toasters from neighbourhood houses and expresses his great wish to get away from the suburbs in order to live a nomadic life. Therefore he begs his brother to take him to the desert. Lee agrees, on the condition that Austin will help him write the screenplay, and the brothers begin to write. Suddenly, Mom returns from her trip to Alaska. She stares at the chaos in her kitchen. It has been ruined by her drunken sons and all her houseplants are dead. When Lee finally decides to leave for the desert without his brother, Austin strangles him with a telephone cord. Mom reacts angrily, picks up her luggage and leaves for a motel.

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Sam Shepard, True West



1. Plot (synopsis)



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