A patriarch dies, the family gathers, secrets are divulged, rifts widen. “August: Osage County”? No, the latest family dysfunction festa from Dana Lynn Formby.
Doug (Derek Garza), a twitchy Vietnam vet, camps out in his family’s squalid mountain cabin. His father’s suicide brings siblings Paul (Christopher Jon Martin) and Jake (Jon Penick) and wives Lisa (Stephanie Stroud) and Kaiann (Sara Tode) to haggle over property and possession.
Formby’s fragmental poetic narrative can occasionally obscure her setup, but it’s ambitious. The performers bring the prerequisite desperate energy to the sad story: it’s a heartbreaker to watch Martin try to generate interest in his latest get-rich scheme (a little thing called Microsoft), as Stroud cowers in the shadow of his failure. Penick’s emotional disconnect seems even more disturbing than Garza’s PTSD. Tode’s guilt over her handicapped daughter drives her to do things that ultimately rip the family apart. (Lisa Buscani)
Mortar Theatre at The Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 North Southport, (312)806-0541, through June 27.