Every family harbors its secrets. And as landlocked as Osage County, Oklahoma, may be, the extended Weston family has secrets enough to keep the largest port authority plenty busy. Those secrets slowly reveal themselves in “August: Osage County,” Tracy Letts’ 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama that’s laced with dark, sometimes cruel humor.
At Otterbein University Theatre, director Dennis Romer has collected a cast unlike any the theater has presented: eight students, two faculty members and three Equity guest actors.
“It has been inspiring to watch the students rise up to create such high-level performances because of the collaboration,” Romer said.
Two of those Equity guests are CATCO alumni Geoffrey Nelson and Jonathan Putnam. “They’ve done so much for theater in Columbus, and they are so well thought of,” Romer explained. “I wanted them back up on the stage as soon after their departure from CATCO as possible to recognize their place in this community.”
In the play, the Westons gather after the disappearance of the family patriarch.
“You see a lot of generational attitudes and beliefs that are being passed down to the next generation like an inherited disease,” Romer said. “This is a story of relationships, and in this family, relationships are extremely complicated, textured, nuanced and at times hilarious.”
“The things that turn out to be funny are those instances when people are trying to do their very best, but they just don’t turn out right,” Romer said. “Really, this script is about being human.”
Evan Zimmerman photo