It's rare that a play becomes the most talked about theater event of a season, but the Pulitzer prize winning "August: Osage County" has done just that. After months of listening to the hype I finally got myself a ticket and checked out the family drama (which just moved to the Music Box Theater). Since so much has been said about the show already, I figured I would forgo a more traditional review and share 10 Things I Love About "August: Osage County." BEWARE!!! SPOILERS INCLUDED!!!
1. You get a highbrow play that includes pill-popping mothers, incest, AND pedophilia. It's like the Royal Shakespeare Company doing a "Dateline" special. And I mean that in the MOST AMAZING way.
2. No matter how fucked up you may think your life is, it's guaranteed that the family on stage will one-up you. So, as much as it's a downer, spin it and make it "the feel good play of the season!"
3. The audience is a collection of sophisticated New Yorkers who are so moved by the material that they react like a (subdued) Jerry Springer audience.
4. Amy Morton gets to do an entire scene where she screams "Eat your fish, bitch!" at her mother. I shall now use this line as a rebuttal for any situation where I feel like I'm losing power. It is the new "I drink your milkshake."
5. Rondi Reed wears an amazing sparkly muumuu. It's the icing on her brilliant performance (one of several amazing female performances in a great ensemble cast).
6. The set, which resembles a three-tiered dystopian doll house, is the kind of mammoth playground that a performer dreams of.
7. Almost the entire second act is a scene at a dinner table. The timing between the cast is so flawless that you forget that you are watching actors; instead, you feel like you're watching a petri dish of multiplying dysfunction.
8. It's three-and-a-half hours, but seems like one. In other words, it's the anti-"Coast of Utopia," which was nine hours, but felt like twenty-four.
9. Deanna Dunagan (as the vitriol-spewing matriarch) creates a character that is heartbreaking even though she is a senile bitch. And she smuggles pain killers into a psych ward in her vagina. That's badass.
10. The characters are so fleshed out in the script, that I would actually listen to a cast recording. Sure, there are no big musical numbers, but all of the actors deliver such convincing characters through their line delivery that you could practically close your eyes and still love it.