Mommy Dearest

August:: Osage County hits the stage with dark humor and dysfunction.

When Violet Weston's husband walks off into the summer night, her three adult daughters and their families decide to return home to Oklahoma to comfort their wounded, vindictive mother. This is the premise of August: Osage County, a dark comedy that has won both the Pulitzer Prize and a Tony award. “It's a journey with this family,” explains Randy Weeks of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. “Using the term ‘dysfunctional’ would be an understatement. It's raw; it's real; it's what goes on all the time but we don't want to admit to it."

Razor-tongued, pill-popping Violet seems to survive only by inflicting emotional harm on those nearest and dearest to her. Middle daughter Ivy lives nearby and is carrying on a secret affair with her first cousin Little Charles. The oldest daughter, Barbara, returns from Colorado with her estranged husband and pot-smoking teenage daughter. Karen, the youngest, arrives from Florida with her hokey self-help dogma and sleazy businessman fiancé. Staged in a three-story house that includes a living room, dining room, front porch and second- and third-floor bedrooms, the action zips back and forth with a zingy, fast-paced humor.

“It's so interesting and complex that it's hard to pick out the main storyline. I think everyone will find something they can relate to,” Weeks says. “After the play was over, I just wanted more. It was incredible.”

August, with Estelle Parsons starring as Violet, opens today at 7:30 p.m. at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, 950 13th Street, and runs through August 8; tickets start at $22. For more information, call 303-893-4100 or go to www.denvercenter.org.
Tuesdays-Fridays, 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays, 1 & 7:30 p.m. Starts: July 24. Continues through Aug. 8, 2009

 
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