The cast of August: Osage County on stage struggling with each other

March 15, 2019


Play takes searing look at family dynamics

A family in crisis is at the heart of LaGrange College Theatre’s production of “August: Osage County,” running March 20-24 at Price Theater.

The play won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for drama, as well as that year’s Tony Award for best play.

There will be some familiar faces on the stage of Price. Professor Kim Barber Knoll, coordinator of the Theatre Arts Program; Tracy Clahan Riggs, Theatre Arts instructor; and John Williams, retired English professor, will be performing with students to bring Tracy Letts’ tragic comedy to life.  Knoll and Riggs have teamed up to direct the show, and they said it has been a challenge and a joy.

“August: Osage County” is set in the large country home of Beverly and Violet Weston in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. The family gathers after the disappearance of the family patriarch, Beverly. Knoll portrays his wife, while Riggs plays Violet’s sister, Mattie Fae.

“Violet is quite a character,” Knoll said. “She is a force to be reckoned with. She and her husband have been left to just themselves in their house for many years.  Violet feels a great sense of abandonment and Beverly harbors a deep secret.  A crisis brings the family home and many secrets are revealed.

“This material is extremely intense and powerful, but laced with humor,” said Knoll. “The characters are multi-dimensional and flawed, and each of them makes choices and lives and deals with the consequences.”

Riggs said each character is carefully and purposefully written.

“She and Violet grew up looking out for each other,” she said. “But Mattie Fae got married and moved to Tulsa, so the sisters lost touch. They have developed their own coping mechanisms for dealing with their families.”

Mattie Fae’s husband, Charlie, is played by Williams.

“I think Charlie is the most solid, morally,” he said. “He tries to hold everything together and can’t understand why things got so bad with this family. He is deeply disturbed by the cruelty.”

Senior Leigh Anne Hamlin plays Barbara, the third Weston daughter.

“This is one of the most challenging roles I’ve ever played,” she said. “Barbara is the mother of a 14 year-old daughter and she has many years and life experiences on me.”

Leigh Anne said one of the greatest challenges was working on her character's grounded-ness and grit.

Barbara’s husband is played by senior Eli Grant, and he said it’s been eye opening to portray this husband and father.

“He and Barbara are struggling to raise their daughter Jean (Rachel Cartwright), while dealing with a break in their relationship. He has only come home with Barbara to support her during this crisis.”

Ivy, the Weston’s middle daughter is quiet – and complicated, said junior Laine Fletcher.

“Ivy has taken on the role of caregiver for her parents,” Laine said. “She’s proud of that but feels it’s her turn to live. She also has a secret that could tear the family apart.”

The youngest Weston daughter, Karen, is portrayed by senior Ellie Boykin.

“Karen is the disconnected sister who lives in Miami.  She brings her smooth operator fiancé, Steve, played by Kyle Hildebrand, home to the madness,” Ellie said. “She is a self-help enthusiast, but I think that is just her way of coping with all the chaos.”

The play is in three acts with two short intermissions.

“Each act could almost be a play within itself,” said Riggs. “This show is very physical and emotional – it takes a lot of stamina for all of us to make it through to the end.”

Knoll said the play is raw with explicit language and subject matter.  “We train and expose students to all genres, including thought-provoking, contemporary material.”

The cast also features John Riggs as the patriarch Beverly Weston, Cole Reihing as Mattie Fae and Charlie’s son, Little Charles, Savanna Hicks as Johnna and Jack McCormack as Sheriff Deon Gilbeau.

Although there are dark elements in the show, it also has humor.

“The play is a real rollercoaster of emotions,” said Hamlin. “It is so tragic and yet so beautiful.”

“August: Osage County” runs March 20-24 with shows at 7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and a 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinee. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for senior citizens (55 and older) and non-LC students and free for LC students faculty and staff. The box office is open weekdays from noon until 4 p.m. Email the box office to make reservations at and note your name, the performance date/time and number of tickets desired, type of tickets and a call-back number and email address for confirmation.

Note: Explicit language and mature situations. Children and pre-teens will not be admitted.


Cultural Enrichment events


  • Service Saturday, 8:30 a.m., Dickson Assembly Room


  • Marcuetta Sims: Eating Disorders, 11:15 a.m., Bailey Room
  • Empty Bowls Project, 11:15 a.m., Lamar Dodd Art Center ceramics and sculpture rooms
  • Recycling Games, 11:15 a.m., Dickson Assembly Room
  • Solar Power and Climate Change in Georgia, 7 p.m., Dickson Assembly Room
  • LaGrange Symphony Orchestra: “An Evening with Mozart,” 7:30 p.m., Callaway Auditorium


  • Nicholas Rawls and the Georgia Swarm, 10:50 a.m., Bailey Room


  • Osteopathic Medicine info session, 11:15 a.m., Jolly Room, 104 in Callaway Science
  • Student Philanthropy Fair, 11:15 a.m., library plaza
  • “Art From Soot,” 1 p.m., Lamar Dodd Art Center lecture room

In the headlines

General speaks at college – LaGrange Daily News, March 7, 2019

Key series for Panthers – LaGrange Daily News, March 7, 2019

Panthers get first win – LaGrange Daily News, March 8, 2019

Retired Air Force general beings real life advice for college students – LaGrange Daily News, March 8, 2019

Hawks rally past Panthers – LaGrange Daily News, March 9, 2019

Panthers make it two in a row – LaGrange Daily News, March 9-10, 2019


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Video of the Week



Kendal Wallace consults with his team court-side

Men’s basketball
Head coach Kendal Wallace has been selected by STUDENTathleteWorld (SaWUSA) to represent the United States in the 2019 United World Games, the largest youth tournament in Europe. The tournament will be held in Italy, Austria and Germany from June 17-26. Wallace is one of seven coaches for the SaWUSA USA teams. He will be coaching the U19 USA East squad.

LaGrange baseball player at bat

The Panthers improved to 13-5 with a 15-inning 1-0 win over visiting Emory on Wednesday. Judd Moore’s one-out single gave LC the walk-off win. Junior Trey Pearce was selected as the USA South Player of the Week, while freshman Joe Ruth was the Rookie of the Week for the week ending March 10.


Upcoming sporting events

Friday, March 15
Golf at Jekyll Island Invitational
Baseball at Piedmont

Saturday, March 16
Women’s lacrosse vs. Brevard, 3 p.m.
Golf at Jekyll Island Invitational
Baseball at Piedmont

Sunday, March 17
Women’s Lacrosse vs. Averett, 1 p.m.
Golf at Jekyll Island Invitational
Baseball at Piedmont

Wednesday, March 20
Men’s and Women’s Tennis vs. Piedmont, 4 p.m.

Thursday, March 21
Softball at Wesleyan (doubleheader)


Campus notes

Mark your calendars now for June 1 for an alumni and friends afternoon with the Atlanta Braves. First pitch is 4:10 p.m. as the Braves take on the Detroit Tigers. Tickets are $35 and include a $10 food/drink voucher and a game ticket in the Terrace Reserved seating section. Each ticket purchased also allows the group access to the Xfinity Cabanas at 2:40 p.m. The LC cabana will include foosball, cornhole and ping pong games as well as the pre-game feed on an 8’x20’ LED video screen. Food and drink options are located nearby. The stadium’s LED board will recognize LaGrange College during the game. To purchase tickets (and qualify for door prizes) and for more information, contact or (706) 880-8244. Tickets are limited, so don’t miss out.

Learn2Serve teachers work with campers

Registration is open now for this year’s Learn 2 Serve camp that will run June 10-28. It is designed for rising fifth- through eighth-grade students only. Visit here for more information and an application form.

Today is the regional competition for National History Day. The state contest will be held on the LC campus for the first time on April 13.

The LaGrange Community Band and LaGrange College Wind Ensemble will be in concert at 7 p.m. Saturday at Callaway Auditorium.

Next week is Philanthropy Celebration Week. Several events are scheduled to spotlight the importance of philanthropy. On Monday, a car provided by Mike Patton will be displayed on the library plaza from 11:15 a.m. until 12:15 p.m. to promote the Mike Patton Scholarship. Also, students will have the opportunity to put their thumbprints on a banner that will be displayed at the annual scholarship luncheon that will be held Tuesday. Also on Tuesday, Pay It Forward student advocates will be on the plaza to talk about the Senior Class Challenge.  Cornhole games will be held on the plaza Wednesday and will include trivia questions about giving back to the college. A student philanthropy fair will be held Thursday on the plaza with representatives from student organizations who promote philanthropy efforts. The celebration will conclude Friday with a “Paint the Rocks” party at 2 p.m.

The college is hosting the eighth annual Advancement Roundtable on Thursday and Friday. Vice presidents from 16 colleges and universities from around the country will gather to discuss issues affecting advancement and fundraising.

Next week is also Greek Week. The schedule will include Wacky Olympics, Minute-to-Win-It, a dodgeball tournament, tug-of-war, slip and slide kickball, trivia bowl, capture the flag and a lip sync competition.