Saturday, September 26, 2009

Review: August: Osage County

Thursday night I went to see August: Osage County at the Ahmanson in Los Angeles. I've been interested in seeing it since it got heaps of praise and tons of awards while it was on Broadway. Even my husband had heard of it, which is saying a lot.

I purchased my tickets through Center Theatre Group's Hot Tix program, so I got them for cheap ($20) but had a limited view. It didn't limit my enjoyment of the show, especially since I was in the fourth row.

I was vaguely familiar with the story line. A dysfunctional family in the midwest, no, make that the Plains. Well, the Weston family gives new meaning to the term "dysfunctional". Each of the members of this family is dealing with something different: betrayal, guilt, self-loathing, settling, self-discovery. While the show is really funny, it is overall a very dark humor and the audience finds themselves laughing at this family's major issues. It's only funny because they aren't real. The end of the play left me feeling completely depressed! So I think they did what they set out to do.

As for cast stand-outs, there was Estelle Parsons, who reprises her role as Violet Weston. That lady is nuts and Estelle played the part amazingly. I also was quite impressed with Shannon Cochran who played Weston daughter Barbara Fordham. Barbara may be the meatiest role in the whole play, and I thought she played the heck out of the role.

This show was almost 3 1/2 hours long with two intermissions, so plan on being in the theater for a good long while, but it is definitely worth it, and the time goes by quickly. I highly recommend August: Osage County!

Here is a list of things that can really ruin a theatre experience, all learned from that night's show!
1) The person directly behind you had just eaten a meal of sauteed onions.
2) When said onion-breathed person uses BOTH intermissions to imbibe copious amounts of foul-smelling liquor (the onion/liquor combo was more than I could take).
3) When the person next to you does a "hey everyone, look at me!" guffaw during the non-funny and very quite parts of the play

1 comment:

Esther said...

Hey Linz, I'm so glad you enjoyed August: Osage County! It raced by, didn't it? And wow, $20 - you can't beat that.

I've heard great things about Estelle Parsons as Violet and I'm hoping I can see the tour in Boston next spring. Can you believe she's 80 something?!

What I appreciate is the way Tracy Letts illuminates all of the pressures that women face - as wife, mother, daughter. (In fact, I think the men get a little shortchanged!) It's also about what happens when the child becomes the parent. That part especially resonated with me.

And I think Letts has also written some very witty, biting dialogue. I thought the Act I scene between Mattie Fae and Charlie on the couch was hilarious. And Barbara's line about "What makes you the greatest generation?" is priceless.

I know what you mean about the ending being depressing but overall, I kind of found the play cathartic.

So, what did your husband think?