True West by Sam Shepherd is a play about two brothers, Lee and Austin, who are reunited after several years spent leading completely different and separate lives. Like most of Shepherds works, the play’s themes totally break the stereotypical perception of American Family norms/The American Dream. For example in Buried Child he writes about a baby born out of incest which is then murdered by it’s grandfather/stepfather, and how this affects each family member. Although this play does not have incest, it does have it’s fair share of sibling rivalry juxtaposing the older Lee who is a drifter and thief with Austin who is a straight edge screen writer working on his next script, and of there is murder.
By the end of the play you can see a clear role reversal between the two brothers, classifying both Lee and Austin as dynamic characters, which is always interesting. great use of foreshadowing should keep you hooked in if you’re quick enough to catch it. My favorite instance of foreshadowing was when Lee reminds Austin that murders are more common within families, after Austin tells him that he could never kill him because he was his brother. Again, this all ties together with Shepherd’s breaking away from the classic “all American family”, which is to say that sometimes, the bonds within a family are not as tight as one would expect.