Heartbreaking, hilarious, gruffly compassionate, and breathtakingly bold in its thematic scope, Tracy Letts’s drama about a monumentally screwed-up clan in rural Oklahoma is one of the best American plays of the last decade. It bears obvious similarities to other great works about thwarted dreams and the wounds caused by blood ties, notably Long Day’s Journey Into Night and Three Sisters, but stands on its own considerable merits. When a retired academic disappears from the home he shares with his pill-popping wife, his three daughters and other family members show up, unleashing a series of recriminations and revelations. Anna D. Shapiro’s beautifully orchestrated direction and the cast of 13, particularly Deanna Dunagan as the rancorous matriarch, turn Letts’s masterful script into a haunting, mesmerizing experience. a Through 8/26: Tue-Fri 7:30 PM, Sat-Sun 3 and 7:30 PM, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, downstairs theater, 1650 N. Halsted, 312-335-1650, $20-$65. –Kerry Reid