Human Race in Dayton, OH, and nearby Wright State's theatre department are aligning to present one of the first regional stagings of the Oklahoma-set work that premiered at the Steppenwolf Theatre in 2007 prior to transferring to a lauded Broadway run in 2008.
August: Osage County will run Sept. 23-Oct. 10, officially opening both the Human Race and Wright Stage theatrical seasons. It will be presented at WSU.
The Human Race will be responsible for hiring professional actors for roughly half of the cast, while WSU students will audition for the remaining roles. The technical staff will also be comprised of professionals and students. Human Race artistic director Marsha Hanna will direct.
Both parties were separately interested in producing the epic three-and-a-half-hour play. The Human Race faced challenges in conceiving the large-scale work on its intimate Loft performance space (August requires a set depicting a three-story home) and WSU initially expressed concerns with age-appropriate casting for older roles and tackling issues ranging from prescription and illegal drug use and incest within the script.
Once the two organizations learned of their joint interest, they saw a solution to their respective challenges. Both the Human Race and WSU regard August: Osage County as an inaugural effort, which could lead to more collaboration in future seasons. "I've had a dream of a collaborative production since I came here 15 years ago," says WSU Theatre chairman W. Stuart McDowell in a statement. "It makes sense that the area's pre-professional training program should work with professionals, and The Human Race does some of the best professional theatre I've ever seen anywhere."
Original Broadway production notes read: "August: Osage County tells the explosively funny tale of the Weston clan, triggered by the recent disappearance of the family patriarch. With rich insight and brilliant humor, Letts' critically-acclaimed play paints a vivid portrait of a Midwestern family at a critical turning point."