'This is not a namby-pamby, sweet little play'
In a casting coup of sorts, director Lillete Dubey has gathered some of the most talented actors for American playwright Tracy Letts' Pulitzer Prize-winning play August: Osage County
This is what the cast list for Primetime Production's August: Osage Country reads like: Lillete Dubey, Kitu Gidwani, Sandhya Mridul, Suchitra Pillai, Ira Dubey, Denzil Smith, Amar Talwar, Maneesh Verma, Danny Sura, Auritra Ghosh and Meeta Vasisht.
A still from August: Osage County
With each name on the list, our expectations from the play rise higher. Add to this playwright Tracy Letts' incisive style and there's hardly a thing that can go wrong with Lillete's latest venture.
The die is cast
With film, television and other assignments to juggle, getting the cast in place wasn't easy, Lilette admits. The play does not have a single protagonist around whom the story revolves. Instead, there are various subplots woven together through the characters so each actor was assured a strong scene.
"Today, to get three-and-a-half good actors for a play is a big headache, and this play has a cast of 11 people! I wanted to choose people who are good actors and are equally passionate about doing theatre. Luckily, these actors loved the script and their roles," she reveals.
Another toughie for Lillete was making a play set in Pawhuska, Oklahoma relatable to an Indian audience. "I took the rights (of the play) from Tracy Letts. I'm not mucking around with nothing in the play.
The cast of the play includes Kitu Gidwani and Denzil Smith
The names and sensibilities are very Western so I had to look at which part of the country would fit in for such a scenario and that would be Goa," Lillete explains. She refuses to call the production an adaptation, insisting that the only thing that has changed is the location of the family.
Over the years, Primetime Productions has been associated with a number of family dramas Kanyadaan, 30 Days In September, The Wedding Album, Adhe Adhure to name a few. But Lillete states that August: Osage County is the "purest family drama" she has worked on in several years.
Lillete says, "All the other plays explored different themes within the set-up of a family. In that sense, this play is purely an examination of a dysfunctional family.
It's a pressure cooker situation where people who haven't met each other in several years come together under extreme circumstances. It's explosive not a namby-pamby, sweet little play. It's a no-holds-barred script that's going for the jugular."
About the play
The plot begins in August as the action takes place over several weeks in the home of Beverly and Violet Weston in Oklahoma. Beverly is a poet and has a drinking problem while his wife suffers from mouth cancer and has become addicted to drugs. When Beverly disappears, the family comes together to look for him and a series of conflicts ensue over the next several days.
On Tomorrow, 5.30 pm and 8 pm
at Jamshed Bhabha Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point.
Ticket Rs 1,500 to Rs 500