August: Osage County: Dark Comedy at Its Best

7 01 2010

Arizona State University’s Gammage Auditorium is currently showing the Tony Award-winning Broadway play August: Osage County.  Sporting an extremely talented cast (including Academy Award-winning actress Estelle Parsons), August: Osage County has embarked on a nationwide tour that you won’t want to miss.  Here’s the breakdown:

The Westons are a dysfunctional family living in rural Oklahoma.  When the drunken patriarch goes missing, the Westons are confronted with family secrets and conflicts, each more shocking than the next…all while dealing with pill-popping matriarch, Violet (Parsons).

The Monkey: The show is not a visual spectacle (although the set is quite impressive).  There are no special effects, wires, fireworks or fog machines.  In fact, there are no scene changes either…the entire 3 1/2 hour show takes place in the Weston home.  That might sound boring, but the hours flew by watching the amazing actors and actresses bring their respective characters to life.  It felt more like watching a reality TV show than watching a play.  Each actor fully embodied their characters, convincing the audience that the drama was actually happening on the stage.

Estelle Parsons stole the show, seamlessly weaving together drug-induced rants, whithering remarks and soul-wrenching pain.  And while all the players were stellar, special note should be made of Shannon Cochran, playing the eldest Weston daughter, Barbara.  Her performance is so nuanced (despite her foul mouth and frequent shouting) and the audience is haunted with the prospect that Barbara might end up just like Violet.

The Weasel: There were two or three “action” scenes in the show (slapping, fighting, etc.) that looked extremely staged and fake, yanking the show from its veil of realism.

The script was dead-on, the acting was flawless.  The range of emotions was extensive, even for 3 1/2 hours…the comedy was biting yet dark, sad even.  The show is a must-see.  The Arizona run goes through the weekend (Jan. 10).  If you’re not an Arizona resident, check the tour schedule and see when it’s coming to a theatre near you.

5 Death Stars out of 5

Have you seen the show?  What did you think?  Tell me what you thought of August: Osage County in the comments!

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3 responses

7 01 2010
Cal

Definitely 5 Death Stars out of 5! This is the most brilliant show I have ever seen. Nothing was over or under done; simply perfect. The staged fight scenes were pretty pathetic but were shortly forgotten. I hope everyone goes and sees it!! I’m a big musical theatre dork and even majoring in it, and I liked this “play” more than any musical I have ever seen…I think that says enough.

7 01 2010
Katie

I loved this play! My favorite part was when the oldest daughter was screaming “Eat the fucking fish bitch!” at her mother. Oh and when the middle daughter gets frustrated that she can’t have her say so she throws a plate on the ground, the oldest goes “Oh so we’re breaking shit now?!” and throws her plate and then the drug-induced mother mumbles “breaking shit huh?” and casually brushes her plate off the table while gazing listlessly in front of her. Hahahah. You have to see it to get it. So see it.

Great acting. Insane plot line. Weirdo twists that lead to dark laughs. Definitely see it. Oh and be sure to get a “mommy’s little helper” before the show starts:

http://ktvan.posterous.com/having-a-mommys-little-helper-before-the-show .

7 01 2010
Dustin

Yes! I think they should make promotional T-shirts with “Eat the f*cking fish, bitch!” on them, lol 🙂 Glad you liked the show!

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