Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Letts: August: Osage County and Superior Donuts -- See Them Both

These days, as you realize, I do not often write in this space -- since my commentaries are written for and viewed at talkinbroadway.com.

Last month, I took in The Steppenwolf Theatre Company's ensemble piece, "Superior Donuts," in Chicago. And, just the other day, we watched the muti Tony Award winning "August: Osage County" in Manhattan. Written by Tracy Letts, both plays reverberate for and with an avid theatergoer.

"AOC" is a rich, long, family interweaving drama - with plenty of wry, biting humor written into the script. Set in Oklahoma, the storyline focuses upon the most dysfunctional of families; but, Letts' dialogue allows for cathartic laughter - somehow!

"SD" occurs in a small donut shop in upper Chicago. You have a late 1960s character running the place and a few oddballs wandering in and about. A youthful African-American man wants: a job in the store; and the kid is a promising fiction writer.

"August: Osage County" boasts a large, multi-tiered set which brings anyone watching into the proceedings. The thrust stage withinSteppenwolf creates immediacy even before the opening curtain. The impact of each script, however, is undeniable -- thanks to playwright Letts.

I'm not about to tell you, this time around, who does what and why - for I'm not reviewing the productions. But, each caught me quickly. "August" continues at The Music Box on West 45th Street while "Donuts" continues in Chicago before, one imagines, moving on. TheaterWorks of Hartford has its eye on "Superior Donuts."

That is it for now. Consider this longer than a blurb yet shorter than a critique. Continue to enjoy and support live theater.