Why Not? August Osage County by Tracy Letts: an analysis for production

Originally Published January 25, 2014 in Facebook Notes:

Please note that I review the plays that I read in light of their artistic merit, but also the probability that they might be successfully mounted in the market where I direct: North Central Illinois community theatre:

August: Osage County by Tracy Letts has brilliant dialogue. With each utterance, myriads of telling character subtleties are unfolded. The tempo, juxtaposition and choices offered in every human transaction are an actor’s and director’s dream. That being said, this tragicomedy (and what family reunion isn’t?) that peels away generations of dysfunction may never see the light of day in a local community theatre production. EVERY vulgar utterance is essential to the discourse unveiling the bitter truths and comic pathos of the play. To cut one word would be dishonorable to the playwright (who has been inspired by his own story) and grand theft to the actors who seek to create truth. Locally, finding the large complement of sixty-somethings and forty-somethings to honorably fill the 13 member ensemble cast would take the chance that most every A-game talent we have in a 60 mile radius would be simultaneously available.

The following has been edited and added 1/27/15: With that, I hesitate to conceive that any local theatre might successfully build and house the 3-story set with as much realistic detail as the play demands.

After further review of my own comments, why NOT? If the surrounding theatres were to bind together as a collective might we not (warnings posted) work together to bring this gem to the stage? With posted caveats, could we not present this piece with our combined talents and run it one weekend per month in ALL participating locations? What a coup THAT would be!


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