Continuing our interviews with the cast of the excellent August: Osage County, which runs this weekend in Huntington, let’s hear from another sister at the heart of the dysfunctional family.
Here’s the gifted and lovely Kate Morris:
Q: Tell us about August: Osage County.
Kate: August: Osage County is one of the best scripts I’ve ever read. It’s comedy, tragedy, mystery and a family reality show all mixed together. The imagery and symbolism could keep an English major busy for months and yet the story so real and familiar that anyone who watches it can find pieces of themselves and their family in it.
Q: Why did you want to tackle this show?
Kate: The first time I heard of this show was when I watched the 2008 Tony Awards. Then I saw a touring production in Pittsburgh and fell in love. I had never seen a stage show that felt so real and so allegorical at the same time. I couldn’t imagine that a local company would have the guts to tackle it. When I heard ARTS was taking it on I knew I had to be a part of it. I adore working with Mike Murdock as a director. He gives actors freedom to explore and play and discover new things each night. There are scenes in this show that are different each time we do them. It’s a show where you can really live in the moment and just play it as it comes. That’s my favorite part of live theatre and I think it’s really happening on our stage.
Q: Tell us about the character you play.
Kate: I play Ivy, the middle Weston sister. The one who stayed home to take care of her parents when her sisters left to pursue their careers. Anyone who has taken care of an aging parent can probably relate to her. She is quiet and reserved and takes quite a bit of bullying from her mother, but she has plans and dreams and secrets that make her so interesting to play.
Q: What's your background in theatre?
Kate: I’ve been a theatre rat since I was a kid.
Q: I've heard the set is amazing...
Kate: My husband designed and built it the set. I feel like the process of creating it has been like birthing another child for us. He has been working on the design since we got the call in October that we were going to be part of the show. A challenge for us is that we have a 3-year-old and no local family to help us babysit. Mike Murdock was so accommodating in adjusting the rehearsal schedule in the beginning so that Greg could have the majority of the set built by the time I was needed regularly in rehearsal. I will be eternally grateful to him for his flexibility. Without it I never would have been able to be part of this incredible show. Greg put in many 16 hour Saturdays and Sundays. He took days off from work and worked early mornings and late evenings before and after his “real job.” He did the thing that many people thought couldn’t be done here and I couldn’t be more proud of him. The dedication that everyone has had to getting this set built and the show on its feet is inspiring.
Q: Tell us about the cast.
Kate: Inspired. Talented. Dedicated. They’re like family now.
Q: Why would you recommend this show?
Kate: This play is about real people down in the muck going through real struggles to change themselves for the better. It isn’t always pretty, but I think you will find that it is beautiful.
ARTS presents August: Osage County by Tracy Letts, on May 19, 20 and 21 at 8 p.m. in the Renaissance Theater at 900 8th Street in Huntington. Show only tickets: $15, Dinner and Show tickets: $30. Call 304-733-2787 to make dinner and show reservations. Tickets can be bought online or at the door on the day of the performance.