TRACY LETTS’ AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY IS A HIT AT NTC
This drama scored a rare trifecta: winning a Tony Award, a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and Drama Desk Award.
The NTC production is Directed by Terry McGovern and Nan Ayers. It is produced by Kim Bromley and Sandy Lelich.
One of the very nice things about the Novato Theater is the intimacy of the theater. This critic has had the opportunity to see this play twice in the Bay Area, by two different theater companies, and both productions were excellent, each in its own way.
The time is August 2007. The setting is a large country home in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, 60 miles from Tulsa. As I take my seat, I am greeted by the Eugene de Christopher and Sandy Lelich wonderful (appropriately shabby) set. There is a dining table stage right behind which is a descending staircase and, on the upper level, a couch which makes up into a bed. Stage Left has bookshelves and a small table with a couple of chairs.
The action takes place over several weeks at the home of Beverly and Violet Weston. Beverly is an alcoholic and a former poet. Sheriff Gilbeau, portrayed by Jeffrey Taylor, comes in to announce that Beverly has drowned. In Act 2, the family gathers after the funeral.
Beverly is played quite well by William Peden. Pill-popping Violet (Shirley Nilsen Hall) steals the show. Hall is ably supported by the rest of the cast: Barbara (Heather Shepardson), Ivy (Molly McCarthy); Karen (Miriam Ani); Bill (Ken Bacon); Jean (Caitlin Strom-Martin); Steve (Montgomery Paulsen); Mattie Fei (Sandi Weldon); Charlie (Richard Kerrigan); Little Charles (Jesse Lumb); Johnna (Cindy Calderon).
Heather Shepardson is wonderful as Barbara, and Molly McCarthy’s portrayal of Ivy is admirable as the little daughter who never left home. Sandi Weldon’s is quite strong, fielding many scenes with great humor, as Violet’s sister, Mattie Fei. Ken Bacon ably plays Bill, the estranged husband, and Miriam Ani brings admiration to the warden’s youngest daughter, Karen, who maintains a positive outlook.
The sound design by Terry McGovern is an exceptional complement to Mark Clark’s fine choreography. (Mark Clark also produced the program.) Mark Shephard‘s graphic designs are stellar. Costumes by Adrianna Gutierrez are excellent, as is the lighting by Electric Bill.
Photography by Janice Deneau
Novato Theatre Company’s August: Osage County is well worth your trip and your ticket! The play itself is magnificent and will hold your attention for its 3.5 hours.
Remaining Performances: 7:30 pm through the 2:00 pm Matinee on June 4. Order tickets online up to two hours before performance times at www.NovatoTheaterCompany.org (print out your ticket from the confirmation email). If you are unable to print out your ticket, your name will be on a list at the Box Office at your scheduled time. The Box Office opens at 7:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday.
Congratulations to NTC on a wonderful season of entertainment!
Coming up next: Novato Theater Company presents Heathers – The Musical from July 20 to 30, 2017; book, music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murray and directed by Patrick Nims.
Flora Lynn Isaacson