Make us your home page
Instagram

Pulitzer-winning play is a departure for Eight O'Clock Theatre

LARGO

Audiences have come to know and love Largo's Eight O'Clock Theatre for its splashy Broadway musicals, but change looms this time of year.

August: Osage County, running through Sunday, is a tragi-comedy about a deep, dark, deliriously dysfunctional family. Directed by Christopher Rutherford, it runs three hours and has two intermissions.

"This is an out-of-the-box show for Eight O'Clock," said Leah Hamilton, marketing director. "We are trying to appeal to new audiences. No other community theaters are doing shows like this."

Linda Woodruff Weir, a theater board member, plays the character of Mattie Fae, a mother whose sordid past drives her to constantly berate her adult son, Little Charles (Jonathan Pouliot).

Weir called the Pulitzer Prize winning play by Tracy Letts "a beautiful piece of work.

"It was something we decided to take a chance on."

Michael Mahoney plays Beverly, patriarch of the Weston family. "I'm glad Eight O'Clock is doing this play. I'm singing impaired and don't do musicals," he joked.

But it's the rich complexity of his tragic character that makes his small but important role so compelling. He opens the play by talking openly about his alcoholism and his wife's drug addiction. It is a mutually acceptable arrangement the couple has come to, one that laid their marriage to rest years ago.

It's his apparent suicide that brings their three daughters and other fragmented family members back together to the family home in Oklahoma where they offer their support as well as their spiteful but witty rants.

Donna Donnelly portrays Violet, Beverly's acidic, pill-popping wife. She's undergoing treatment for oral cancer and even though she's zonked throughout most of the play, she retains an indelible talent for verbal abuse.

"She's toxic and has destroyed the entire family and has no remorse because of her drug addiction. My challenge — because the audience won't like her — is to make her interesting, watchable and fascinating," Donnelly said.

Those who have seen the 2013 movie, starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, will note the play is quite different.

"There is more humor in the play than the movie," said Linda Roth-Grayne, who portrays Barbara, the Westons' oldest daughter who struggles simultaneously with her 14-year-old pothead daughter, her crumbling marriage and her crazy out-of-control mother.

"Some will laugh because the lines are funny. Some will laugh out of embarrassment," Roth-Grayne said.

Ben Taylor is her husband Bill, who is having an affair with one of his students.

"Everyone comes into this house with a secret and how they expose it to the other family a member is what makes the play interesting and fun," he said.

Reach Terri Bryce Reeves at treeves@tampabay.rr.com.

>>if you go

August: Osage County

Eight O'Clock Theatre presents the 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Tracy Letts

When: Today and Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m.

Where: Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive

Tickets: $25.50 for adults, $12.50 students (22 and under with ID), $23 for groups of 10 or more. A city of Largo handling charge of $3.50 will be added to each ticket.

Info: (727) 587-6793 or visit eightoclocktheatre.com

Pulitzer-winning play is a departure for Eight O'Clock Theatre 08/27/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 27, 2014 6:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Until this song, Alan Parsons Project stood on much higher ground

    Blogs

    Listening to yesterday's Keats song made me pine for more Alan Parsons Project music and today we dig deeper into their catalogue with Standing On Higher Ground.

  2. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for July 23

    Events

    Marie Antoinette: Freefall 411: A contemporary look at the historic pariah looks at Marie Antoinette through the lens of society's obsession with celebrity. Through August 13. A brief talk prior to the performance provides insight to the production. 1 p.m., show starts at 2 p.m., Freefall Theatre, 6099 Central …

    Lucas Wells as King Louis XVI, left, and Megan Rippey as Marie Antoinette in Freefall Theatre's "Marie Antoinette."
  3. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for July 22

    Events

    Snooty the Manatee's 69th Birthday Bash: Snooty, documented by Guinness World Records as the oldest known manatee in captivity, turns 69 and celebrates with children's games, art activities, cookies, drinks , interaction with Snooty the mascot and reduced price museum admission. 10 a.m., South Florida Museum, 201 …

    Snooty the manatee poses for a photo Thursday morning while three young manatees are unloaded from Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa Thursday morning at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton.
PAUL VIDELA/pvidela@bradenton.com 12/20/07
  4. Spring Hill to mark golden anniversary with celebration at Lake House

    Events

    SPRING HILL

    It was 1967 when the Deltona Corp. began selling homes in western Hernando County, a rural area that previously had been little more than a vast forest of oak and pine trees.

    This photo, taken in 1967, shows Spring Hill’s signature waterfall at the intersection of Spring Hill Drive and U.S. 19. The community will celebrate its 50th anniversary on July 27.
  5. Cridlin: Linkin Park's Chester Bennington had a wail that stood apart

    Music & Concerts

    For all the old-timers' talk about how they don't make singers like they used to, about how rock vocalists of the 21st century can't hold a candle to the frontmen of yesteryear, here's a fact no hater could deny:

    Chester Bennington could flat-out wail.

    Chester Bennington of Linkin Park  performs at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa for the 2014 Carnivores Tour. [Photo Luis Santana | Times]