I lost track of the the August: Osage Country "book group" over at NYTimes.com, but it apparently went on for a while.
Among the many highlights--including a quick swipe at theatre blogs by one Frank Rich ("By the way, many of the most vicious reviews are written on theater blogs")--is a handy Playwriting 101 lecture by Marsha Norman on her "3 Rules"--but actually using August as an example of how to break the rules! Agree with her or not, I though the playwrights out there might find it interesting. (Spoiler alert, though, regarding key August plot points.)
And, okay, if you're in a rush, here's The Rules:
Rule #1: No passive central character;In deference to Marsha, though, I do recommend reading the rationales. And it's a pretty interesting craft-analysis of August.
Rule #2: On or about page 8, tell the audience why they are here and what is at stake, or to put it more simply, when they can go home.
Rule #3: The main character can’t be clinically insane.