Heidelberg Theatre Company are very excited about presenting the Australian Amateur premiere production of August: Osage County by award winning American playwright, and actor, Tracy Letts.
August: Osage County is set in the American Mid-West (Oklahoma to be precise) and explores the lives of The Weston family. Violet Weston is the matriarch of the Weston family and, at age 65, is suffering cancer of the mouth. This keeps her heavily medicated but she is, nevertheless, sharp-tongued and shrewd and aware of the family's many secrets and not hesitant to reveal them for her own benefit.
The play is directed by Heidelberg staple Joan Moriarty who concedes the challenges for actors involved in the play. She states that all the roles, especially the females, are very challenging for both the actors and the director. "We are charting the total disintegration of a matriarch through pills and alcohol," she says.
Moriarty is an actor and director as well as having been involved on the Heidelberg committee for many years. She has worked back stage, painted sets and basically done whatever has been required to ensure the continuing success of a theatre company she has been a member of since 1981. Moriarty was made a life member in the 50th year of the company's existence. A small sample of her directorial work includes: The Imaginary Invalid, Arcadia, The Dinner Game and The Pain Killer.
August: Osage County poses more than a few challenges when it comes to casting (the play also calls for a Native American character) set and lighting. Says Moriarty: "A cast of 13, a 3 storey house and about 50 lighting cross fades are all challenges."
The play has won a multitude of awards including Pulitzer, Tony and Drama Desk. The play premiered at the renowned Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago and has played on Broadway, UK's National theatre as well as making it's debut in Oz at the Sydney Theater Company in 2010. The pedigree of the play is one of the things that attracted Moriarty to it as well as the fact that "a dysfunctional family makes for very good drama."
The play is described as being darkly comedic which often works best with this type of dysfunctionality. The main themes explore the destructive quality of drugs and alcohol but Moriarty posits that audiences may leave considering their own family to be very balanced .
The play centers on the waning days of a sharp-tongued addicted dying woman who is surrounded by a large cast of eccentric lazy hangers-on but all is not what it may seem. "Although a drama the play can also be considered a black comedy as there are many bitingly funny lines," says Moriarty.
August: Osage County runs from 2 MAY – 18 MAY 2013 at Heidelberg Theatre Company