One Night In August… In September…

Since The San Antonio Stage Script Study Group opened its “Page to Stage” series (with the ironically titled Closure), we’ve enjoyed great meals, great discussions, and the kind of behind-the-curtain insights you don’t always recognize when you’re in the audience.

And that held true with our latest meeting.

After putting it to the vote on Facebook, we agreed to take on August: Osage County for our next play.  Tracy Letts’ dark melodrama (about a family that comes together after the disappearance of their patriarch… then quickly and spectacularly comes apart) has enjoyed considerable accolades since its first performances in 2007 – including a Pulitzer Prize – and a planned film adaptation has attracted an impressive cast.  So we were all excited to see the play’s San Antonio premiere, especially since it would be at the Sheldon Vexler Theatre.

If you’re at all familiar with the play, then you already know that August is an actors’ playground.  Secrets are revealed, emotions are stripped to the bone, the bone is stripped, and the sins of parent and child are visited upon one another – there’s a lot of material for a good cast to tear into.  So it made sense to invite one of the Vexler’s cast to join us for our discussion.  And we were fortunate that Renee Garvens (who plays the youngest, and possibly the most deluded, of the family’s three daughters) was able to join us at Green Vegetarian Cuisine.

It was a great meal, and an even better discussion.  Renee shared some wonderful backstage insights (fact: one of the actors – who only appears in the play’s first scene – committed himself so fully to the role that he actually left the theater and went home after the scene ended), and we all shared our ideas on what the play was, who the characters were, and what it all meant.

It all gave us a lot to consider when we went into the theater (a space dominated by Ken Frazier’s impressive set design) to see the actual production.  True to the promise of the material, the play was a workout, as much for the audience as for the actors.  And these actors were up to the task, especially Christy Huffman and Anna Gangai, who brought incredible energy to their characters, and to the war of wills that comes to dominate the lives of everyone around them.  Kudos to them, and to all the cast (who are tagged in this post) and crew.

It was another in the growing streak of great Page to Stage events.  And the next meeting holds great promise as well, as we’ve been invited – invited! – to visit the Woodlawn Theatre on November 17 for its black-box production of Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice (directed by Matthew Cassi, an engaging past guest of ours).  We hope you can make it to the show; for all the details as they come together, please visit our Facebook page (linked above).

Thanks as always for following along.  Until the next show, “be seeing you…”

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