Audience members could feel the tense energy and anger among members of the Weston family in No Refund Theater’s production of August: Osage County, directed by Amber Holder.
The story begins with Beverly Weston’s (Ian Felker) hiring of Cheyenne woman Johnna (Cristal Casellas) to take care of the house, and his subsequent disappearance and eventual suicide. This leaves Violet Weston (Rachel Shriver), the cancer-ridden, drug-addled matriarch of the family, and her three daughters Barbara (Laura Weber), Ivy (Julie Whelan), and Karen (Samantha Faller) to hold the funeral, but things only get worse as secrets come out and the family becomes further splintered.
“Familiar discord affects us all, at one point or another. While most families don’t go to the extremes that the Weston family does, the pain and confusion caused by a lack of honesty will hopefully ring true for many in the audience,” says director Amber Holder in the playbill notes. “It has been an incredibly rewarding struggle to portray.”
Rachel Shriver and Laura Weber, whose characters Violet and Barbara had the spotlight for a large part of the play, gave powerful performances that effectively revealed the complexities of their characters. The rest of the cast gave funny yet poignant performances that rounded out the rest of the play.
Despite a few production errors, the play was overall well-performed and well-designed, flowing at a perfect pace and evoking a wide range of emotions.
Photo credits: No Refund Theater