February 6, 2008

Mommie Dearest


Mike and I went to see August: Osage County last Saturday upon Pinky's enthusiastic recommendation. I was a little apprehensive because it is a play rather than a musical. Its running time of 3 and a half hours sounded daunting. But I didn't have to worry; this blistering story is so engaging I almost didn't want an intermission (there were 2) just to find out what happened next.

'August' is the tale of the ├╝ber dysfunctional Westons of Oklahoma. The alcoholic father Beverly disappears one night, and his children come home to help/comfort their mother. His ferocious drug-addled wife Violet (a terrifying Deanna Dunagan), prone to "truth-telling" as she calls it, proceeds to tear into each and every one of her 3 daughters. Husbands, boyfriends, a pot-smoking granddaughter, a meek cousin, Violet's sister and her husband (a hilarious Rondi Reed and Francis Guinan) come along for the bumpy ride. One devastating family secret after another is revealed. As tempers flare and the temperature soars, the house divided unto itself starts to fall. The housekeeper Johnna is the silent witness to the epic drama. (Trivia: She is played by Kimberly Guerrero, Jerry Seinfeld's girlfriend in The Cigar Store Indian episode.)

The show has lots of memorable lines; biting, funny, sad. You'll laugh out loud even as you cringe. As one character says, "You have to be smart to be complicated." 'August' is smart AND complicated; harrowing at times but a great evening at the theatre. Thanks Pinky for insisting we see it;)

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