Again, I will say. August:Osage County was good, but it was *not* the greatest thing ever seen on a Memphis stage. It was not the revelation from god that people seem to think it was. Good work? Yes. Best ever? No.
Then maybe it's just me. I simply don't see what all the fuss is about. But I have to admit that people all around me were alternately cracking up and wiping their eyes. I was moved in neither direction. I didn't cry and I didn't laugh. Once. I frankly felt next to nothing for any of these characters. They all seemed to be more collections of cliches than living human beings. But everyone else seemed to love it. So it's probably just my cold, unfeeling heart.
Am I the only person to have seen August: Osage County who was not "blown away" (to use the phrase most connected with the show)? Don't get me wrong: I enjoyed it, I was never bored, the set was great, the acting was good. But frankly, I think I have seen better work from almost every person. Again, no one was bad--they were all good. These are all talented people, but they've all done better.
While watching the play, something about the script kept nagging me. Perhaps it was the sense that Letts had taken some Tennessee Williams, a little Sam Shepard, a touch of William Inge and a dash of Mama's Family, mixed thoroughly and come up with this souffle. It seemed rather like TV writing to me.
I mean, read this description:
>When the patriarch of the family keels over dead in the first scene, the struggle to get him buried involves the whole clan, including the not-so-grieving widow
What ensues in his wake is a raucous, backbiting gathering of his many relatives to play their last disrespects.
Hardly anyone else in the family is willing to forgive the past. Marriages are threatened, fraternal envies arise, and the play goes on and on. <
Sounds like a fairly good description of A:OC, doesn't it? The odd thing is it is actually taken from a couple of reviews of productions of DEARLY DEPARTED. Yes, you read that right.
Now DEARLY DEPARTED is obviously not in the class of A:OC. But I don't think A:OC is quite as great as people are making it out to be.
Am I the only one?
By Richard Alley
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