Tri-State Theater

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Interview with "August: Osage County's" Mary Williams

 The final weekend of August: Osage County has arrived, and you just have a couple of chances to catch the acclaimed play at the Renaissance Theatre in Huntington.

   We also have our final interview with the members of the cast. Let’s hear from the lovely and talented Mary Poindexter Williams, who plays a spitfire who’s at the heart of the family conflict that drives the play.

Q. Tell us about August: Osage County.

Mary: August: Osage County is a story about the Weston Family as they come to grips with their past and face their future. The patriarch of the family has disappeared and the family gathers in the large family home located in Osage County, Oklahoma. Both the climate and tempers can be HOT!!

Q. Why did you want to tackle this show?

Mary: OMG! A rare opportunity to be a part of a production of this  Pulitzer Prize winning play! Wonderful play. wonderful role! Wonderful theatre company! Wonderful director and cast!! Wonderful experience!

Q. Tell us about the character you play.

Mary: I play Violet Weston, wife of the missing Beverly Weston and mother to Barbara, Ivy, and Karen. Violet is  not a very likable human being. Violet is addicted to drugs, is undergoing chemotherapy treatments, chain smoking throughout the play, and lashing out at everyone in the Weston home. But I love delving into why Violet has become this kind of person. I like to try to understand events in her life that have molded her into this caustic and bitter woman. It has probably been the most challenging role I've ever played. There are so many layers to this woman. And, it's so fun to play this kind of character. I'm a fairly reserved person and it is cathartic in a way to express Violet's feelings with her ranting and raving!  I hope I haven't scared my husband, Steve! Ha Ha!

Q. What is your background in theatre?

Mary: The acting bug bit me on this very same high school stage. My first acting role was in the play Flowers for Algernon, performed on the Huntington High School stage in 1973. I did a few things in high school and then in college ( I attended Marshall University) and a few community theatre shows at the old Abbot Theatre and the Huntington Art Museum. But then I moved to Florida, got married, had two daughters and was busy homemaking, mothering, and working as a funeral director until I moved back to Huntington in the mid-‘90s. After my girls became adults and moved away, my husband encouraged me to return to MU to take some theatre classes. Next thing I know I'm in their theatre program and graduated with my BFA in 2010.

Q. Tell us about the set.

Mary: Just Wow!  I could never imagine this set, this absolutely realistic house that Greg Morris and Tom Olson have built-here on this stage! It's so easy to lose myself in my role and become Violet in "my house." The hours and hours that have gone into the building and dressing of this set is mind-boggling. These are men with careers and families and what they have put into this; their blood, sweat, and tears is awe inspiring.

Q. Tell us about the cast.

Mary: They are the best! I knew some of the cast and crew before we started rehearsals, but this is my first year as a company member so I've been thrilled to make some new friends. Everyone is so talented and  I'm honored to be a part of this once in a lifetime experience with this group.

Q. Why would you recommend this show?

Mary: This is the kind of theatre experience that stays with you, has an influence on your life. You may think you can not relate to this family. Your family may not have some of the problems that this family is struggling with, but all families have issues. This play forces  you to "feel." It makes you laugh, makes you cry, maybe even makes you cringe. But you have an experience watching this play. Theatre entertains, it educates, it motivates. This play has it all.

Thanks, Mary!

   ARTS presents August: Osage County by Tracy Letts, on Friday and Saturday, May 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.

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