Like a modern day variant of Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Tracy Letts’ superb sprawling epic of familial heart break and destruction – August: Osage County propels us into a world that is alternately tragic, sardonic, witty, and disturbing. The Keegan Theatre is presenting a beautifully crafted production of Tracy Letts’ lengthy but extremely involving play under the taut direction of Mark A. Rhea.
Ably abetted by the stellar lighting design by Megan Thrift and the meticulous, atmospheric set design by Stefan Gibson, this is one of the most well-designed shows I have seen. The sound design by Jake Null is wonderfully quirky and appropriately psychologically unsettling in its effects. .
Violet Weston, the acid-tongued gorgon-like, pill-popping matriarch of the family is portrayed, with appropriate bile and sarcastic humor by Rena Cherry Brown and it’s a tour-de-force performance. You cannot take your eyes off of Brown, so natural and authentic is her every gesture and inflection. Brown totally inhabits her character to the point that you feel she is no longer acting.
Brown is sure to win every possible award for this transcendent performance. She transitions from cruelty to humor to self-effacement with the most effortless ease and grace.