NOVA Center for the Performing Arts -- Billings, Montana

Spotlight on AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY – Actress Dina Brophy

Dina Brophy is one of the best actors in Billings. Her portrayal of Barbara Weston is piercing, moving, hilarious, and very, very real. We took a moment to talk with her experience in Tracy Letts’ play, August: Osage County.

1. Tell me about your character. How does your character fit with the Weston Family? What attracted you to audition for this play?

I play the oldest Weston daughter, Barbara Fordham. Barbara is potent; she’s smart, sagacious and direct. You never have to wonder what she is thinking – she gives it to you straight. Barbara is perceived – at least by her mother – as the strong one…the go-to daughter who can solve all their problems and handle this crisis. Unfortunately, Barbara arrives on the scene with her own baggage. Her 23-year marriage is unraveling, and she has a rebellious teenage daughter who is acting out – at least in part – as a result of being caught in the middle of her parents’ discourse.

The entire show is a remarkable piece of writing, but I’m particularly in love with the way Barbara is written. Her strength is evident, but she also shows great vulnerability, and she goes from being very composed and capable to quite the opposite. It’s a challenging role, but one that is an absolute pleasure to play. And God bless him, Tracy Letts has given Barbara some of the greatest lines in the play!

2. Wow, August: Osage County is a heavy duty play. It has been called a “tragicomedy.” It is heartwrenching and hysterical at the same time. What is your take on Tracy Letts’ combined use of comedy and tragedy to depict the Weston Family?

I love a good dark comedy – truly. We live lives of conformity, compliance and manners, so I love those opportunities to laugh-out-loud at taboo and celebrate irreverence without fear of social retribution. Life is hard! I think the ability to laugh at our darkest moments is one of the healthiest things we can do for ourselves.

3. There are a lot of great moments in this play. Which one is your favorite? And why? (For me, the image of Barbara holding a glass and saying she had the “plains” stuck with me.)

I perhaps have a debatable definition of “great” in this context, but one of my favorite moments is when Barbara’s husband, Bill, reports that he’s leaving for home and taking their daughter with him. It immediately peels away all of Barbara’s outer layers and leaves her so completely exposed and vulnerable, but she recognizes the importance of that moment and takes the opportunity to lay it all on the line. It feels very real to me each time we do that scene and tapping into the needed emotion is somewhat effortless.

4. What was it like to work together? Hopefully the Weston Family dynamic stays on the set…

This is such a great cast and fun group of people. Some of the scenes are downright gritty and these characters say some pretty ugly things to each other; it wasn’t at all uncommon during rehearsal for us to hug before and after a difficult scene. It’s not easy – even when acting – to looking another person in the eye and yell, “I hate you!”

5. Why should someone see this play?

See that line right there? This show crosses it – All. The. Time. While it’s
believed there really is love at the core of this family, they spend most of their time launching razor-sharp barbs at one another as they lead you through a plot that shocks and surprises you up to the very end. There’s nothing like watching a family of harsh, emotionally-broken people to make you feel as though your own family is right out of an episode of “Father Knows Best”. Besides, it’s one helluva a great story!


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NOVA Center for the Performing Arts  -  2317 Montana Avenue - Billings, MT 59101
PO Box 11
Billings, MT 59103
Phone: 406-591-9535