Andrew Wheeler, Mackenzie Gray, Sean Allan of Osage County

Three acts. Two intermissions. One big house to contain it all.

Last night, I attended the opening night of August: Osage County. Set in a hot, humid summer month in the Plains (also considered the ‘affliction‘ by some in the Weston family), a series of events take place over the course of several days: A mother’s pill-popping addiction, a father gone missing for days, and later, a funeral dinner. Now this wouldn’t sound like a joy ride at the outset, but by the time the play is over, the audience has become well-acquainted with the Westons.

August: Osage County cast photo
[Cast photo]

Nora McLellan plays Violet (Vi) Weston, the Matriarch and pivotal role in the cast. She’s brilliant, keeping every one of the Westons on their toes, and the audience roaring with laughter at one moment, while feeling her sorrow the next.

Nora McLellan in August: Osage County
[Nora McLellan]

Karin Konoval’s Barbara also shines as the eldest daughter. We only see head of household Beverly Weston (Sean Allan) at the start of the play, as he’s in the process of hiring live-in help Johnna Monevata (played by Quelemia Sparrow). His slow introduction made me wonder whether the three hour play would eventually pick up, but by the time the second act was underway, there was no need to wonder anymore. This play has style, laughs, and holds something for everyone. You won’t come away empty-handed! It wouldn’t be too difficult to find someone in my own life reflected within any one of the play’s 13 dysfunctional characters. Variety holds the key in this production.

Wendy Noel, Nora McLellan, Karin Konoval in August: Osage County
[Wendy Noel, Nora McLellan, Karin Konoval]

I also enjoyed the large house set, divided into several rooms on three floors. The lighting, stage direction, and occasional music add to the atmosphere.

On a side note, there are several T.S. Eliot references in the play for fans out there.

August: Osage County came to life on June 28, 2007, when it premiered at Steppenwolf Theatre Company. It later went on to Broadway for a run of 648 performances. The play won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2008, as well as that year’s Drama Desk, New York Drama Critics’ Circle, Outer Critics’ Circle, and Tony awards for best new play.

August: Osage County cast photo

The Arts Club production of August: Osage County runs through February 27 at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Theatre, 2750 Granville Street at 12th Avenue. For tickets, visit the website or call the Box Office at 604.687.1644.


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