Other Desert Cities

Other Desert Cities

by Jon Robin Baitz

"A winner… funny and fierce, invigorating and intelligent." — The Daily News

"The most richly enjoyable new play for grown-ups in many seasons… leaves you feeling both moved and gratifyingly sated." — The New York Times

Winner of the 2012 Outer Critics Circle Award and Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Best Play

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Content Advisory

RUN TIME 2:10 (which includes a :15 minute intermission)

SYNOPSIS: Brooke Wyeth’s father is a movie star-turned politician and her mother is a former Hollywood writer, both staunchly conservative. She returns to her parents’ Palm Springs home for Christmas bearing the manuscript of her latest book. It’s a memoir about her beloved older brother, a California golden boy who became involved with a ‘70s radical organization when he was a teenager and participated in the bombing of a draft center that resulted in someone’s death, an event which prompted him to commit suicide. As Brooke, her parents, her Aunt Silda, and her younger brother Trip gather over the Christmas holiday, her manuscript becomes the flash point for a fierce debate: how do we balance the demands of telling the truth against the loyalty we owe to the people closest to us? And what are the costs, emotional and moral, of secrets kept even within the most intimate of family circles?

LANGUAGE: Other Desert Cities won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Play and was called by The New York Times “the most richly enjoyable new play for grown-ups that New York has known for many seasons.” It does, however, contain a significant amount of strong language, including the repeated use of both profanities and vulgarities—language that would qualify the play for an “R” rating if it were a movie.

This language includes “damn,”  “Goddamn,” “Jesus” and “Christ” (numerous times), “shit” and “bullshit” (several times), “fuck” and fucking” (numerous times), “chink,” “screw,” “ass” and “assholes,” “faggy,” and “prick.”

SMOKING AND DRINKING: Brooke’s Aunt Silda is an alcoholic, a fact that is referred to several times. The other characters all take a drink at one time or another during the play. Silda smokes, and Brooke and Trip smoke a marijuana joint together.

SEX: None.


FOR WHICH AUDIENCES?: Other Desert Cities is appropriate for adult audiences for whom the strong language in it is not discomfiting. Teenagers would find the play’s central drama of inter-generational strife engrossing, but should attend at a parent’s discretion. The play is not appropriate for, nor of interest to, pre-teens.

RATING: If it were a movie, Other Desert Cities would be rated “R” for strong language.