A PRIMER ON ‘AUGUST,’ PART I: The touring production of August: Osage County opens its two-week run at the Winspear tonight. The play won just about every award a play can win in 2008, including the Tony and Pulitzer. It stars Estelle Parsons, who won an Oscar for playing Clyde Barrow’s wife, Blanche, in Bonnie and Clyde. She tells dallasnews.com that winning the Oscar had its downside. “After Bonnie and Clyde, it was like the people who had bought a ticket thought they owned me like a box of cereal.” Since those days, she’s starred in other movies and plays and had a recurring role as Rosanne Barr’s mother on Rosanne. And at 82, she tells dallasvoice.com she’d like to slow it down, but she’s got so much to do. “I’m working on an anti-war show about a Vietnam veteran. I am planning a trip to India. I’m looking forward to not working. But I’ll also be doing some work at the Stratford Ontario Shakespeare festival.”
A PRIMER ON ‘AUGUST,’ PART II: Estelle Parsons is certainly the biggest name in August, but she’s not the only recognizable face in the cast. Laurence Lau, who has had roles in just about every daytime soap there is, is also on board. He’s most famous for playing Greg opposite Kim Delaney’s Jenny on All My Children. And after all those years on the small screen, he tells theaterjones.com that it’s rewarding to now perform in front of a live audience. “Being part of this play is such an electric experience for me. I have a supporting role and I love my small part. And I’m not boasting when I tell you that the audience has gotten to their feet and giving us a standing O at every show. I’ll never experience that again in my career.”
A PRIMER ON ‘AUGUST,’ PART III: Before taking a two-week holiday break, August was parked at the Kennedy Center in Washington. So let’s ask the D.C. critics what we can expect tonight. As expected, the focus falls mostly on Parson’s performance as the play’s matriarch. “Parsons is so splendidly ornery as Violet that you send up a thankful little prayer to the heavens that she’s not your mother,” says the Washington Times. In fact, the Washington Post says the role essentially is the play. “Aside from her, the drama is one-dimensional — the stage equivalent of a dime-store potboiler, rife with melodramatic revelation, a shocking twist at every turn. That makes for an undeniably lively evening: It’s sort of a darker, better-written, rural answer to Desperate Housewives, something on the order of Hicks Behaving Badly.”
See you tonight.