A searing family drama that has taken America and the world by storm, New Theatre presents August: Osage County by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award Winning playwright, Tracy Letts, for a limited season from 8 June 2018.
In the scorching heat of an Oklahoma summer, the Weston family has come together due to the disappearance of their patriarch, a world-class poet and alcoholic. Violet, the matriarch, is suffering from cancer, addicted to a cocktail of drugs, and ruthlessly honest in her opinions. Her three daughters, Barbara, Karen and Ivy, harbour problematic partners and deep secrets.
Violet’s younger sister, Mattie Fae, and her family, are well-versed in the Weston’s particular art of cruelty, while her teenage grand-daughter Jean is wise beyond her years, the result of living among these warring adults. Observing the chaos is the young, recently-employed Cheyenne housekeeper, Johnna, a newcomer to this battlefield.
As the temperature soars, so do the familial tensions, boiling over in vicious point-scoring and score-settling to sensationally entertaining effect. This insightful and compassionate study of a family in meltdown is both dense and deeply funny, a brilliant example of the best of contemporary American drama and a theatrical juggernaut of epic proportions.
“When I saw the Steppenwolf Theatre Company production of this magnificent work, at the Sydney Theatre in 2010, it went straight on my bucket list of plays to direct before I shuffled off this mortal coil,” said Director Louise Fischer. “Why? Where do I start? The stunningly complex roles for women (and great roles for the chaps)?”
“A female matriarch to rival Tennessee Williams’s Big Daddy – so deliciously and unapologetically abominable? The allure of tackling one the masterpieces of the 21st century? All of the above! I then fell to earth, realising there was no way we could get a three-storey set on the New Theatre stage! But when I read the play again, I knew we had to do it. Because it’s not a play about a set – it’s so much bigger than that.”
“It’s about characters that simmer and leap off the page, about the formidable inner landscape of a family disintegrating on all sides. And it’s about a script infused throughout with the most wonderfully wicked humour. You find yourself laughing when you know you shouldn’t and that’s kind of intoxicating. Which is somewhat ironic, when directing a play about addiction!”
Fischer has assembled a fantastic cast of actors for this production, many of whom have appeared on the New Theatre stage before: Adrian Adam (Hay Fever), James Bean (Laughter on the 23 Floor, Hay Fever, The Clean House), Peter Flett (Canary, Enron), Brett Heath (The Cherry Orchard, The Chapel Perilous), Lynden Jones (Laughter on the 23 Floor, The Weir), Alice Livingstone (Australia Day, The Clean House, Hay Fever), Helen Stuart (The Women) and Emily Weare (The Real Thing).
New Theatre also welcomes some new actors: Sonya Kerr (As You Like It – SheShakespeare, One Way MIrror – subtlenuance), Emilia Stubbs Grigoriou (Troilus & Cressida – Secret House), and recent graduates Jake Fryer-Hornby (WAAPA), Kirra Farquharson (CQCM) and Amy Scott-Smith (NIDA).
Tracy Letts is a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright, actor and Steppenwolf ensemble member. In addition to August: Osage County (Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award) he is the author of plays Linda Vista, Mary Page Marlowe, The Scavenger’s Daughter, Superior Donuts, Man from Nebraska (Pulitzer Prize finalist), Bug and Killer Joe.
As an actor, Letts received the 2013 Tony Award for Best Actor in Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? TV and film credits include Lady Bird, The Lovers, Christine, Elvis and Nixon, The Big Short, HBO’s Divorce and two seasons as Senator Lockhart on Showtime’s Homeland.
“The most exciting new American play Broadway has seen in years” – The New York Times.
Director: Louise Fischer Featuring: Adrian Adam, James Bean, Kirra Farquharson, Peter Flett, Jake Fryer-Hornsby, Brett Heath, Lynden Jones, Sonya Kerr, Alice Livingstone, Amy Scott-Smith, Helen Stuart, Emilia Stubbs Grigoriou, Emily Weare Set & Costume Designer: Sallyanne Facer Lighting Designer: Michael Schell Sound Designer: David Cashman Assistant Director: Alex Bryant-Smith Voice/Dialect Coach: Will Reilly Production Manager: Rosane McNamara Stage Manager: Christopher Starnawski Assistant Stage Manager: Sai Kasivajjula, Harriet Snaith Production Assistant: Ester Rosenberg Operator: Lexie Dent
August: Osage County
New Theatre, 542 King Street, Newtown
Season: 8 June – 7 July 2018
Information and Bookings: www.newtheatre.org.au
Image: courtesy of New Theatre