EXCERPTS FROM THE REVIEW
The following are excerpts from the January 23, 2013 DC Theatre Scene Review of August: Osage County by Jayne Blanchard
Director (and Everyman’s Founding Artistic Director) Vincent M. Lancisi pulls out all the stops in regards to casting, set design and acting chops with this production. He manages to make more than 3 hours glide by like a dream—a savage, hilarious and anxiety-riddled dream about an Oklahoma family’s ghastly treatment of one another and the pack of lies they use to control and tear each other to shreds..
Daniel Ettinger’s multi-story set is an apt metaphor for the sad state of affairs in the Weston family and beyond. At first glance, it looks like a cozy and hand-hewn testament to the American dream of home ownership. But look closer and you notice the wooden stairs are a death trap, the old furniture all sharp edges and menace, the wallpaper and knick-knacks suffocating. It’s a house of horrors with lace tablecloths and the good silver.
Never does this litany of pathology become overwhelming, as Mr. Letts and Mr. Lancisi maintain a keen, keep-them-on-the-edge-of-their-seats pace with a combination of scathing comic dialogue and a series of cliffhangers that are normally the provenance of melodrama.
Perverse pleasures abound, as every actor crackles with honed purpose. It’s no accident that Miss Thorson and Miss Hazlett echo their body rhythms and elocution so that to see them together onstage is like looking into a funhouse mirror. Miss Hazlett’s Barbara shares her mother’s razor tongue and laser intelligence, but her rage is not as monstrously sharpened as her mother’s and she can be sloppily, endearingly human, especially in her exchanges with estranged husband Bill (Rob Leo Roy, deceptively placid), whose fights over correct word usage betray their own peculiar brand of not so high-minded rancor.
As baby Karen, Miss DeSanti beautifully embodies the giddiness of her character and also the perils of being a people-pleasing doormat all her life. An equal treat is Nancy Robinette as Mattie Fae, Violet’s live wire sister who gleefully has never had the luxury of an unexpressed thought. Her scenes with hubby Charlie (a consummately laid-back Wil Love) are priceless, the practiced sparring of a couple who long ago stopped listening and looking at one another.
The pockets of pain and cruelty seem bottomless, yet August: Osage County is never bleak. Its flame burns fierce and pure, a fire that purges everything in its wake.