The Tab meets: August: Osage County

Discussing comedy and crazy characters, Tab meets the cast of August: Osage County

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With the opening night of EUTCO’s August: Osage County on Wednesday (5th February), The Tab caught up with Elizabeth Ryan and Alexandra Tildesley to find out a little more about the production and what’s in store.

Sophie Marston (SM): So tell me a little about yourselves. What is your role in the production?

Elizabeth Ryan (ER): I play Mattie Fae, and I’m a first year drama student.

Alexandra Tildesley (AT): I’m one of the producers, and a third year drama student.

SM: Why don’t you give me a brief overview of the show. What’s it about?

AT: It’s set in a big, family house in Oklahoma. The father of the family has gone missing and the family returns to the house. They haven’t been together for a long time and it’s about the different relationships in the house – definitely a black comedy.

AT: If you’re willing to enter the mad house you’re in for a real treat

SM: The film has just been released. How do you think the play compares?

ER: They’ve been able to get a good vibe in the film, as the cast lived together for so long it really feels like a family. The play is better though as it’s much more compact and they’re more drama.

AT: August really belongs on stage that’s what it was written for. They manage to bring a lot to the film, but it really isn’t the same.

ER: They’re very different, but still great in their own way. There’s not as much tension in the film.

AT: You have to remember that theatre is live, and the film loses the feeling of the moment.


SM: Tell me about your character – and how they fit into the play?

ER: Mattie Fae is the sister of the matriarch. She left the house a long time ago is coming back for the first time. She’s definitely the burst of comedy in the play. She and her husband are very petty and argumentative and provide the light relief the play needs.

SM: Why did you chose to audition for the role?

ER: Underneath the busy exterior is a good character backstory. She doesn’t care how she appears and that’s really interesting to play. It contrasts my own personality.

The show follows the lives of a very dysfunctional family

SM: Who is your favourite character?

AT: All the characters bring something different to the play. I can’t chose as their roles are all necessary.

ER: It’s strange: the character I like the most are the ones I thought I’d like the least.

SM: Why did you want to get involved in the production?

AT: Well I already knew the play. I wanted more experience of producing and since the play is at the Northcott everything has to be incredibly professional. I’ve also got the opportunity to the more creatively involved rather than just a producer which is great.

ER: I knew about the play, but it was at my first audition when I really felt like it was what I wanted. The people were so great, and as a first year that’s really important.

The stage will be transformed into an entire house

SM: Tell me about the set. It’s something quite different, right?

AT: The play is set in a big country house and the house is the focus of the play, it really is a mad house. We wanted to get the scale of the house into the play. We worked with a scaffolding company to get the feeling right.

The set needed to be claustrophobic and contained and so we didn’t want people on and off stage constantly. It has been hard work but very exciting. The set is going in on the 3rd, so we’ve only got a day to build the set and a day to rehearse.


SM: What’s been your favourite moment so far?

AT: When we finally had the first rehearsal and realised we’d found the perfect actors.

ER: I’ve got three. First, the run through when everything just clicked into place. Second, making the trailer, which was really exciting. Finally, the press night where it really started to fall into place.

The cast and crew

SM: Finally, in just one sentence, why should people go and see the play?

AT: If you’re willing to enter the mad house you’re in for a real treat.

ER: Interesting, amazing, hilarious and outstanding.

Tickets are on sale for just £8: