Wednesday, February 4, 2009

August:Osage County

Today, I took myself to see a matinee. My goal is to see at least one performance a week while I'm here (dance, opera, theatre, whatever). There is so much to see! I've long wanted to see August: Osage County by Tracy Letts and I'm so glad I finally did. Fabulous script, ingenious set, and a strong ensemble cast! The play made me tear up twice and had me laughing out loud several times.

I purchased my half-price ticket at the groovy Downtown Brooklyn TKTS booth. I knew it was an orchestra seat, but I had no idea until I arrived that it was FRONT ROW. Ugh. I sat in it, looking up at the steep, deep, three-story tall set and knew I was going to miss a lot of blocking sitting there. I was considering moving anyway, when two annoying theatre patrons sat beside me—a couple with about ten shopping bags! The woman had a high-pitched cartoon voice and seemed utterly clueless. She pulled out an insert for Speed-the-Plow from her program and said, "Oh, William H. Macy is in this?" Her husband was like, "No, sweetie, that's a different play." She asked her husband if she should check her coat. He said, "If you want." When she then proceeded to do a five minute monologue listing the pros and cons of checking her coat, I knew I had to act! I found an usher and asked if I could move back. He was very gracious and said I could sit in the balcony. I did. The balcony was perfect. This set, designed by Todd Rosenthal, is wonderful and it deserved a wider view—I didn't want to be right on top of it. I would've missed a lot being in that front row (not to mention, I would've been incredibly annoyed by that couple).

The show is long, but never felt it. I actually felt sorrow with each intermission, and couldn't wait for the next act to begin to find out what these crazies would do next. I do have to admit that the ending left me wanting more. For all the wild disclosures and secrets revealed, I never felt a real catharsis for any of the characters or myself...but this was only after giving it some thought on the subway ride home. During the actual play, I felt very transported.

I think the play's only real weakness is the title. Is it just me? The title does nothing for me, and if I hadn't heard so many people rave about the show, nothing about the title would have even caused me to investigate further.

I had to walk through Times Square to get to my train. By the time the play was over, it was dark enough that Times Square was all lit up and glowing. I know it's touristy and crass, but it always gives me a thrill!

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