MD Theatre Guide: August: Osage County

Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County is the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner for Best Play, and it’s easy to see why. The play tackles the big questions, as so few dramas do on the American stage.

…Letts organizes his tale around the family matriarch, Violet, played with mind-stinging waspishness by two-time Helen Hayes Award-winner Rena Cherry Brown. Ms. Brown’s performance is brilliant: at times you’ll feel sorry for her; at other times, you’ll want to kill her off…

The three Weston daughters are the recipients of much of Violet’s sting. The eldest daughter, Barbara, never learned the art of evasion, however; and Susan Marie Rhea plays this story’s antagonist with a determination that will literally make you believe she’s the winner. Ms. Rhea’s fierceness is only matched by her vulnerability to defeat, and she captures magnificently Osage County’s rolling plot line.

Stefan Gibson’s faded scenography provides amble terrain for the characters to roam. Megan Thrift’s lighting supports this mausoleum-like interior and Erin Nugent’s costumes give definition and character to a diverse range of characters.”

The entire cast of this production does a splendid job embodying the play’s intricate story, and with a cast of thirteen that’s no easy feat. Directed by Mark A. Rhea, Keegan’s production of Osage County moves effortlessly back and forth between heartache and belly laugh. Suicide, incest, adultery, pedophilia, and betrayal—all bubble up at one time or another in this subtly absurdist drama. And just when you think that you’ve had enough of the madness, somehow a fry pan to the nose makes the latest bit of human malady seem like just another cactus on the play’s barren landscape.

Read the Full Review at MD Theatre Guide