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Auckland Theatre Company: Osage County

29 Jul 2010

This content is tagged as Theatre .

NEWS

Greed, mistrust, anger, resentment. How’s that for a set of family values?

Hot from taking America by storm and grand slamming Broadway’s theatre awards, Tracy Letts’ epic tragicomedy about family, AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, makes its eagerly anticipated New Zealand premier at the Maidment Theatre on September 2.

This richly entertaining family drama juggles the hilarious, the poignant and the appalling on a scale seldom seen in New Zealand. With a superb cast of 13 actors, three explosive acts and enough revelations to power several soap operas, AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY raises the bar for contemporary drama and gives audiences something to sink their teeth into after a long and lean winter.

With cutting insight and brilliant humor, Letts paints a vivid portrait of a Midwestern family confronting its secrets and lies and the lacerating tongue of their pill-popping mother.

“a deep and highly entertaining work, consistently rich, raw and intense, filled with viciousness and vicious wit.” Variety

Hailed by the New York Times as “Flat-out, no asterisks and without qualifications, the most exciting American play Broadway has seen in years,” AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY scooped the Tony Awards as well as winning the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Best Play. It played 648 performances and 18 previews on Broadway surpassing the runs of recent hit shows MASTER CLASS, THE REAL THING, and DOUBT, to become one of the longest running plays in Broadway history.

Letts himself was instantly feted by the media as the youngest and newest member of American drama's extended, dysfunctional family and the natural heir to Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Edward Albee and Eugene O'Neill.

“hugely entertaining! A ripsnorter full of blistering, funny dialogue, acid-etched characterizations and scenes of no-holds-barred emotional combat.” New York Times.

Auckland Theatre Company’s production will be directed by the Company’s Artistic Director Colin MColl.

Late summer heat is nothing compared to the swelter inside the Westons' home in rural Oklahoma, where Violet (Jennifer Ludlam), the bitter, drug addicted matriarch at the centre of the family web, keeps the temperature cranked. When their patriarch, the dissipated professor-cum-poet Beverly (Stuart Devenie) vanishes, the Weston clan reluctantly return to their home in Osage County to manage the crisis.

Each character and performer gets a chance to shine in this very juicy play. Violet's eldest daughter and favorite, Barb (Jennifer Ward-Lealand), struggles to stay in charge; her teen daughter, Jean (Elizabeth McMenamin), is growing up a little too fast, and her husband, Bill (Alistair Browning), has abandoned ship for a younger woman.

Youngest sister Karen (Andi Crown) arrives with an overload of neediness and a disturbingly slick fiance (Peter Daube). Only middle sister Ivy (Hera Dunleavy) has stayed here all along to be beaten down by Violet's incessant abuse, but she has a secret plan to bolt - and a secret lover to boot. Aunt Mattie Fae (Alison Quigan) busybodies everyone to death, particularly her hapless son, Little Charles (Gareth Reeves), much to the slow-burning consternation of husband Charlie (Andrew Grainger).

Tracy Letts is the author of KILLER JOE, BUG and MAN FROM NEBRASKA, which was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. He is a member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, where AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY premiered. His latest play is SUPERIOR DONUTS.

Having played all over the world from Chicago to Broadway to London and Sydney its Auckland’s turn next. This is the play not to miss this year.

Tickets are available from Maidment Theatre 09 308 2383 or www.atc.co.nz. Full season, Sept 2-3 (previews), Sept 4-25 (season). Tickets from $25 to $57.