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Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Monday, March 03, 2008

August: Osage County - thoughts

I finally saw August: Osage County. A few unformed thoughts:

- It's fun enough, flashy, punchy, soapy, and ultimately like watching HBO in a very big doll house. I like HBO. It's not really about anything you could put in capital letters. It's not about "The American Family" or "America" or "Addiction" or whatever. Whenever it tries to be, it sort of comes off hollow. You immediately want it to return to nastiness and laugh lines.

- Didn't dig the Indian/Native American Johnna character. Someone please tell me what she is supposed to represent in a cogent way. Clearly, I missed something. On the surface, it's an expediently dull portrayal of the housekeeper/minority: she has nothing but blank care for the far-more-fucked-up-but-three-dimensional white folks around her and, when not needed, sits upstairs dutifully reading T.S. Eliot or comes downstairs to cook great meals. I'm sure there's supposed to be some commentary on racism there, but it seemed pretty thin.

- Thought the twists were pretty mundane fare but the audience around me gasped at them. People had a blast. That's awesome to see when watching a play, especially on Broadway. The play as excellent entertainment is incredibly rare these days. I think that's what all the excitement is about: watching a play that doesn't feel like homework.

- The expectations game, in all things, is a painful one.


John said...

Can't comment on August, haven't seen it yet, but the audience gasping reminds me of an experience I had in 2004 down in Adelaide. Good friends of mine were touring a production of 12 Angry Men, the old jury room classic. Show was a smash hit, sold out. I'm in room with 599 other people watching this thing. I'm almost dozing off when something happens on stage and 599 people, all at the same time, gasp. Woke my elitist ass right up, I'm telling you. They were digging it, every moment of it, and I thought, hey, hallelujah.

Freeman said...

Amen to that. Have to say, despite my own weird response to the whole thing, it was nice to see a big matinee full of people going "oohhh" and "yow!" watching a straight play.