The Theatre Lab School of the Dramatic Arts is presenting Tracy Lett’s 2008 Tony Award-winning play August: Osage County this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday – May 16th-18th.
Co-Executive Director Buzz Mauro introduces us to Theatre Lab’s production and cast members Dane Galloway, Tom Hamilton, and Steven Malone tell us about their Theatre Lab experience preparing for their roles.
Co-Executive Director Buzz Mauro:
“August: Osage County is a production of The Theatre Lab’s Creating a Role class, in which students with varying levels of experience work on all aspects of acting and finish the course by performing in a full-length play. It’s taught by Delia and Deborah Taylor, the daughter-mother team who have taught Creating a Role many times, firmly yet gracefully guiding students through full productions of Electra, The Way of the World, Our Town, and other classics. Delia and Debby have been waiting for years now for the rights to this show to become available, because it’s the perfect Creating a Role vehicle. It has lots of parts, so it can accommodate lots of people, and all the roles are meaty. The dysfunctional family run amok has always been the stuff of great drama, and Tracy Letts lets out all the stops in this script. In a play like this the students learn a lot about character development through research and imaginative creation of their characters’ backstories, and a lot about acting through the intense interactions of the characters in “contemporary realism” mode. And we expect it to make a highly entertaining evening of theatre, which is always a nice bonus.”
MEET THE CAST:
DANE GALLOWAY (CHARLIE AIKEN)
When I first got my AEA union card back in the the 1970s, I was, I guess you’d say, classified as a leading man. A few years have passed since I was on stage, and this time around I’ve returned as a character actor, and the first thing I’ve noticed since beginning the audition process, (not only for this production but for other casting directors), is how much I still love acting and the theatre, and how much I have missed it. Working in this Theatre Lab production is a cast of both first-time actors and those with years of experience, and yet I rarely notice the difference. It’s quite a community we’ve created rehearsing this project, and it is exhilarating, fun and very challenging. The last time I was on stage was in New York..Off-Broadway, and though that’s a fond memory, being back in theatre work today is basically brand new and starting over. Hopefully you bring with you some things you’ve learned or picked up along the way that still work, and the bad habits you throw away. My directors, Delia and Debby, are quite sharp and strong and will call an actor on his or her dishonest moments in a heartbeat. That’s the way it should be. It’s all quite wonderful really. And, obviously, the bonus for any actor is a chance to appear in August: Osage County.
TOM HAMILTON (BEVERLY WESTON)
Beverly is a sixty-nine year old, alcoholic poet. I naturally assumed the role had been written for me, so I tried to play myself. It didn’t work. Beverly doesn’t speak like me. His rhythms and his choice of words sound foreign from my lips. So even though there is something of me in Beverly, or something of Beverly in me, I had to try to understand and absorb his person, and make his speech my own. I have decided, at least for the time being, to call that acting.
STEVEN MALONE (BILL FORDHAM)
I started classes at Theatre Lab less than two years ago with no background, not even elementary school. Through Theatre Lab I have been in some staged readings but this is my first time having to memorize lines. Its harder than it looks!
I have learned so much from the other actors. Most of them have a lot more experience and they have all been so generous to me. I make mistakes but they seem to be forgiven as long as I learn from them.
Most Theatre Lab classes are just six sessions and it is amazing how learning acting tears down walls so you get to really know people quickly. We have been rehearsing August: Osage County three times a week since February and have formed a unit cohesion that reminds me of my military experience.
And more than anything, I have learned that good acting is really hard work!
August: Osage County plays this Thursday, May 16-18, 2013 at 7:30 PM at The Theatre Lab School of the Dramatic Arts – 733 8th Street NW, in Washington, DC. For tickets, purchase them online.