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February 1, 2014

Theater Treats 2014 - AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY

Repertory Philippines' second offering for 2014 with “ AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY ” - The 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama written by Tracy Letts.

Written with a strong sense of humor, AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY shall follow the meltdown of the Weston family as each member has personal difficulties that they are unable to resolve.

Chris Millado, a well-respected theater veteran and currently the Vice-President and Artistic Director of the Cultural Center of the Philippines will direct August: Osage County. 


Many messages are conveyed throughout the play. Depending on how deep a reader digs, all sorts of issues can be summoned up. For example, it is no accident that the housekeeper is Native American and that the Caucasian characters tip-toe around their cultural differences. There is a walking-on-eggshells sort of tension that seems to stem from the injustices that happened in Oklahoma over a century ago. A post-colonialist critic could write an entire paper on that alone. 

However, most of the play’s themes are derived from the male and female archetypes found in August: Osage County. 

In Tracy Letts’ play, Mothers and daughters are more likely to verbally and physically abuse one another rather than exhibit kindness. In Act One, Violet continually asks for her eldest daughter. She depends on Barbara’s emotional strength during this family crisis. Yet, at the same time, Violet cruelly points out Barbara’s advancing age, her evaporated beauty, and her failed marriage – all issues that Barbara wishes to be left unspoken. Barbara responds by putting a stop to her mother’s pill addiction. She rallies the rest of the family into intervention mode. By this might be less of tough-love and more of a power-play. 

During Act Two’s climactic “family dinner from hell,” Barbara throttles her mother and then declares, “You don’t get it, do you? I’M RUNNING THINGS NOW!” 

If August: Osage County is a reflection of reality, then there are two types of husbands: A) Docile and unmotivated. B) Philandering and unreliable. Violet’s missing husband, Beverly Weston appears briefly, only during the play’s beginning. But in that scene, the audience learns that Beverly has long since ceased to communicate with his wife in a healthy manner. Instead, he accepts that she is a drug addict. In turn, he drinks himself into a spiritual coma, becoming a very docile husband whose passion for life has fizzled out decades ago. 

Beverly’s brother-in-law, Charles, is another timid male character. He tolerates his unpleasant wife for almost forty years before he finally puts his foot down, and even then he’s rather polite about his uprising. He can’t understand why the Weston family is so vicious toward each other. But the audience can’t understand why Charles has stayed around for so long! 

His son, Little Charles is a 37-year old couch potato. He represents another example of an unmotivated male. But for some reason, his cousin/lover Ivy finds him heroic” despite his simple-minded lethargy. Perhaps she admires him so much because he presents a sharp contrast to the more devious male characters: Bill (Barbara’s husband - the college professor who sleeps with his students) represents middle aged men who want to feel more desirable so they abandon their wives for younger women. Steve (Karen’s fiancé) represents the sociopath-type guys that prey on the young and naïve. 

Most of the characters dread the notion of living alone yet they violently resist intimacy, and most seem doomed to a sad, solitary existence. The final lesson is harsh but simple: Be a good person or you’ll taste nothing but your own poison.

August: Osage County received the Jeff Award (Chicago – 2007) for Best New Work and Best Production. These two awards were closely followed in 2008 by other six awards: Best New Play awarded by Drama Desk, Distinguished Production of a Play by Drama League, the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play and Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Broadway Play. 

Most specially, it was also in 2008 when the play received the biggest award in the industry, the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the TONY Award for Best Play.

AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY is set to open on February 21 and shall run up to March 16, 2014 at Onstage, 2/F, Greenbelt 1, Paseo de Roxas corner Legazpi St., Makati City. 

The cast of August: Osage County and the characters they portray are as follows:

BABY BARREDO shall play the role of Violet Weston, the central character of the play and tracks her life across the month of August while she lives in Oklahoma. The devious matriarch, Violet is addicted to painkillers (and any other pill she can pop) including alcohol and is beyond the glory of her life when she was a famous poet. She suffers from cancer of the mouth. But that doesn’t stop her from spewing her cynicism or her hilariously sinister insults. She has also lost Beverly, her husband. 

PINKY AMADOR plays the role of Barbara Fordham, the eldest daughter. In many ways, Barbara is the strongest and most sympathetic character. Throughout the play, she tries to gain control of her chaotic mother, her dilapidated marriage, and her pot-smoking 14 year old daughter. 

TAMI MONSOD plays the role of Ivy Weston, the middle daughter. A quiet librarian, and stereotypically mousy. Ivy has stayed close to home, unlike the other errant Weston sisters. This means Ivy has had to endure the acid tongue of her mother. She has been maintaining a secret love affair with her first cousin. 

LIESL BATUCAN plays the role of Karen Weston, the youngest daughter. She claims to have been unhappy her entire adult life, prompting her to move away from the family and reside in Florida. However, she returns to the Weston home bringing along a fiancé in tow – a successful 50 year old business man who, unbeknownst to Karen, turns out to by the most loathsome character within the play. 

LEO RIALP plays the role of Beverly Weston, husband of Violet and father to his three 40-something daughters. He was a one-time world class poet and full-time alcoholic. He’s polite, soulful, melancholy, and ultimately suicidal. 

KENNETH MORALEDA plays the role of Bill Fordham, Barbara's estranged husband and Jean's father, age 49. A college professor, he has left his wife for a younger woman named Cindy, one of his students, but wants to be there for his family. His marriage is disintegrating and his patience is slowly running thin.

SHEILA FRANCISCO plays the role of Mattie Fae Aiken, Violet's sister, Charlie's wife and Little Charles' mother. Just as jaded as her sister, Mattie Fae constantly belittles her son and antagonizes her husband. Eventually she reveals the major plot point that Beverly, not Charlie, is the real father of Little Charles. Sheila is also the understudy for Violet Weston. 

THEA GLORIA plays the role of Jean Fordham, Bill and Barbara's smart-tongued 14-year-old daughter. She smokes pot and cigarettes, is a vegetarian, loves old movies, and is bitter about her parents' split. More naive than she would like to believe. 

RICHARD CUNANAN plays the role of Charlie Aiken, husband of Mattie Fae and the presumed father of Little Charles. Charlie, a genial man, was a lifelong friend of Beverly. He struggles to get Mattie Fae to respect Little Charles.

HANS ECKSTEIN plays the role of Steve Heidebrecht, Karen's fiancé. A businessman in Florida, (whose business, it is hinted, centers around the Middle East and may be less than legitimate) and not the "perfect man" that Karen considers him. He eventually sexually molests Jean after the two smoke pot together.

NOEL RAYOS plays the role of "Little" Charles Aiken, son of Mattie Fae and Beverly, 37 years old—but, like everyone else, he believes Charlie is his father. Unemployed and clumsy, his mother calls him a "screw-up", which may be a self-fulfilling prophecy. He is secretly having an affair with Ivy, who is revealed to actually be his half-sister.

ANGELI BAYANI plays the role of Johnna Monevata, a Cheyenne Indian woman, whom Beverly hires as a live-in housekeeper shortly before he disappears. Violet is prejudiced against her, but she wins over the other family members with her cooking skills, hard work, and empathy. Johnna is the silent witness to much of the mayhem in the house. 

NATHS EVERETT will understudy the role of Johnna Monevata. 

ARNEL CARRION plays the role of Sheriff Deon Gilbeau, a high-school classmate and former boyfriend of Barbara's, who brings the news of Beverly's suicide to the family.

AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY is presented by special arrangement with 
Abrams Artists Agency.

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