An Interview with Mark A. Rhea

[Mark A. Rhea’s] latest effort puts him in the director’s chair once again, this time for the final production of Keegan’s 15th season, AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY. The darkly comedic play by Tracy Letts took the 2008 Tony Award for best play and the Pulitzer Prize for drama. Keegan’s production runs August 3 through September 2, 2012.

Originating at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre, AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY arrived on Broadway in 2007. With most of the original company intact, it toured to England and Australia. The play puts an anything-but-typical Midwestern American family on display, warts and all. The grown-up Weston children gather in their family home after the disappearance of their father. Secrets are laid bare, and long-buried truths are exposed as the clan of Oklahomans clash. At the center of the scathingly humorous play is their pill-popping, acid tongued matriarch, Violet Weston.


That’s an easy question. It is a powerhouse of a play. It is the type of theatre I feel we really handle well. I felt we had the actors to do it justice.

JW:  Describe the play to someone who has never seen it in just two words?

Disturbingly funny.

JW:  Is there a key piece of advice or direction you gave the cast as they prepared their roles?

I told them don’t try to make a moment be funny or horrible.  Just be honest and true to the characters, no matter the situation. Go out there and let the situation of what is happening in each particular scene drive your character’s raw emotion. Live it!

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