Exploring the changing reality of our urban and semi-urban household units.

All over the world, the basic unit of society — the family —has undergone tremendous change. The dynamics between family members, the nature of relationships and the problems surrounding the unit have all been transformed. Naturally, such changed situations bring along new, exciting, whacky, even sinister repercussions, which make for an intriguing study in socio-familial dynamics.

Osage County, the Pulitzer and Tony-award winning play by Tracy Letts, explores these aspects in the most engaging way. Lillette Dubey’s The Primetime Theatre Company has brought the play to India to showcase the changing reality of our urban and semi-urban family units. Lillette, who has also directed the play, says, “Osage County showcases the pain of every family member in the Weston family, after the patriarch presumably commits suicide. A sinister and devious matriarch, one girl having an affair with her cousin, another trying to fight through a dying marriage, the third one wanting to marry a man old enough to be her father, and a warrior-angel housekeeper... the story flows between these characters to make a searing statement on the degeneration of the modern family system.”

Lillette stresses, “While we ‘imply’ that the setting has been changed from Oklahoma to Goa, the play we have got here is not an adaptation of the original. It is the same play that has been showcased abroad. We have only implied a change in setting to strike a chord with the Indian audience. Nevertheless, irrespective of the setting, the issues surrounding dysfunctional families are the same all over the world. So it is that our play strikes a chord with even audiences from semi-urban belts. I have had people telling me they couldn’t sleep for days after seeing the play; that is how much they could identify with the issues showcased. ”

The play could well have become a melodramatic soap opera had it not been for the powerful script that depicts the shocking and startling aspects with brutal candidness interwoven with humour to create a fine balance. Add to that, powerful performances by actors like Meeta Vashist, Suchitra Pillai, Sandhya Mridul and Lillette to create a not-to-be-missed experience!

Bottomline: A candid examination of dysfunctional families.

Osage County

Where: Tata Theatre, NCPA, Mumbai

When: September 16