Elizabeth Salaam 12:06 p.m., May 21
August: Osage County
Tracy Letts's three-act epic about a nuked nuclear family is one of the finest American plays in a long time. Credit to the Old Globe for staging such a theatrical blast furnace and to director Sam Gold and a remarkable cast for giving it the quirky flow of life. Violet and Beverly Weston live in a three-story house, all windows covered with black shades, in the epicenter of summer. A family reunion evokes abundant laughter — of the sudden, depth-charge variety — and stark, illusion-shattering revelations. Since the ensemble cast is so uniformly excellent, it's almost unfair to single anyone out. That said, Lous Markle's chain-smoking Violet (a monster with reason?) and Angela Reed's Barbara, who grows into the next Violet before our eyes (or does she?), stand out. Osage turns Chekhov's Three Sisters inside out. Chekhov's trio never reaches Moscow. For Letts's three sisters, Moscow could be Denver, New York, and Miami. But given how the play bombards illusions, it's probably best to say to each, "good luck with that."
- Out & About: "Literary August, Osage County, vol. I" (May 19, 2011)
- Out & About: "Literary August: Osage County, vol. II" (May 27, 2011)
- Out & About: "Becoming Violet Weston" (June 7, 2011)