August: Osage County is a test of relationships. It presents us with thirteen characters whose lives are intertwined in ways that we normally expect to last their entire lifetimes. However, the ambition of each to pursue life according to his own desires seeps into the cracks and threatens even the strongest bonds formed by blood and vow. Even more personal, however, is the relationship between one's self and connection to others, as each character's commitment to love and family is tested
In the 1960s, Beverly Weston (Steve Lawson) was a young poet from Oklahoma having published a single celebrated book of his poetry. Today his renown is forgotten by all but himself and his immediate family, and he has descended into an elder-hood of bitterness and booze, yet retaining a sharp philosophical intellect encased in cynicism.
Beverly's wife Violet (Robyn Gammill), the mother of his three adult daughters, is now little more than a resentful roommate. She is undergoing treatments for cancer of the mouth, and is addicted to prescription depressants and narcotics. Her lack of any filter for her strong opinions has rendered her passive-aggressive, shrill, and unpleasant. While her husband rejoices in his (more socially acceptable) affinity for whiskey, Violet hides and denies her drug abuse.
Violet's only remaining friend may be her sister Mattie Fae Aiken (Terri Bennett), while Beverly's may be Mattie's jovial husband Charles (David Cummings). Their son, "Little Charles" Aiken (Gabriel Diehl), is unmarried and unaccomplished at 37, with seemly little promise for success.
Much of Violet's vitriol is aimed at her middle daughter Ivy (Jill Klopp), the only of the three to have remained at the family home in Oklahoma. That is, until the other two siblings arrive in response to their father's mysterious disappearance. Ivy is an intelligent and sensitive librarian, and all-too tolerant of her mother's constant harping at her appearance, her attire, and her general worth as a human. She is, however, preparing to take charge of her life by revealing a secret that promises to shatter her relationship with the entire family.
Into this toxic stew enters eldest daughter Barbara Fordham (Robyn Conner) from Colorado and her husband Bill (Patrick Wheeler) with their 14 year-old daughter Jean (Courtney Gwosdz). Barbara arrives determined to take charge of twin crises - the finding of her missing father, and her mother's destructive addictions. Meanwhile, her relationship with Bill faces challenges, not the least of which surrounds the rebellious Jean.
The last family member to arrive is Karen (Shannon Embry) from Florida with her fiance Steve Heidebrecht (Marco Bazan), with whom she is head-over-heels smitten. We quickly learn, however, that Steve is unworthy of her adoration.
The mixture of these ten, each with his or her selfish interests, proves a volatile mixture of shouted insults and explosive resentments. Each actor creates a character so clearly defined, even as some pursue entirely unsympathetic motivations, that we understand their actions even as we see their closest alliances deteriorate before us. As Ivy expresses the turmoil, "We're all just people, some of us accidentally connected by genetics, a random selection of cells. Nothing more.”
Two others provide some normalcy to the mix. One is Sheriff Deon Gilbeau (Andrew Goldberg), who arrives with news of Beverly and with whom Karen had once had a teenage romance. But the main needed link to sanity is Johnna Monevata (Gina Lippitt), a Cheyenne housekeeper hired by Beverly without consulting or seeking approval from Violet.
August: Osage County is directed by the team of Andy Berkovsky (Director) and Stephen R. Reynolds (Assistant Director).