By Thomas Noble
Staff reporter

The production of “August: Osage County” premieres at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 15 in Richardson Performing Arts Center and it is like nothing that the theatre department has done before.

“August: Osage County” is one part dark comedy, another part intense drama. The play tells the story of a family spanning generations, and a horrible cycle of abuse.

The production will be directed by Roger Moon, Associate Professor of Theatre and Speech. Moon said that the play is the darkest and most mature play that he has directed at Southwestern College.

Moon said, “Older generations might see at as it being like ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” I would say it’s like ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” on steroids. It’s a brutal, family dysfunctional. At the same times its comic. There’s much of it that’s very funny.”

Eric Denning, theatre arts junior, will play the role of Beverly Weston. Denning said, “You have to look at it from a positive point of view. You have to look at what’s good in it.  You have to find the comedy in it and you have to not let it overtake you.”

This will be the first play at SC that Stephen Stogner, theatre arts freshman, will act in. Stogner said, “It’s challenging, but I knew it would be. That’s why I chose it. I wanted specifically a challenge for myself.”

Another challenge of the play is the set. Traditionally, the play is performed on a stage with a complex three-story tall house as the set.

Richardson is not large enough to build the set. The theatre department has built large multiple-story sets before, but nothing like this.  Moon has designed the set himself.

Moon said,” I have had to design the set to create the sense of the levels, but not realistically. That means the students are working in a non-realistic world, trying to be real. It is also a huge technical challenget. Typically the set has looks more comic, and having to adapt it non-realistically, I chose to go in much darker genre so I hope the set works.”

A film adaption of “August: Osage County” staring, Meryl Streep, Ewan McGregor and Julia Roberts, is currently being filmed in Bartlesville, Okla.

Moon said, “There is an energy as the actors know just across the state line, there are these world-class actors doing the same show, and it says to them that this is important and worth doing”

“It had a huge impact, just to know that they are shooting it so close. It’s kind of intimidating.” said Denning.

Stogner said, “They are doing the exact same thing that I am and that’s exciting.”

Thomas Noble is a freshman majoring in communication. You may email him at Thomas.Noble@sckans.edu.

Cast List:

Arden Moon -Violet

Julia Faust – Mattie Fae

Lisa Prater – Ivy

Cooper Hart – Barbara

Eric Denning – Beverly Weston

Zenas Lopez – Charlie

Zachary Birkes – Steve

Aron Pifingston  –  Bill

Stephen Strogner – Little Charles

Sydney Anderson – Jean

Juliette Lowrance – Karen