Estelle Parsons has joined the cast of “August: Osage County”, playing Violet Weston in the Tony Award-winning Broadway drama. I’ve seen the play, and Parson’s character is the vile, vitriolic heart of it — onstage most of the time, smoking, prancing up and down stairs, and ranting venomously at her disappointing daughters. Her predecessor, 68-year-old Deanna Dunagan, stepped down because of exhaustion. Parsons turns 81 in November.
Parson is fit. Really fit. She lifts weights and swims, she’s been a hiker most of her life, and the 30-year yoga practitioner has no trouble with a headstand. She’s comfortable being active, but her motivation, as she explains in an article in today’s New York Times, is to stay in shape for her acting career: “I’m used to devoting my whole life to the work and what it requires.” Adds Parsons, “I don’t like to feel like a freak. I don’t want people coming to the show just to see what an 80-year-old looks like onstage. Isn’t that what actresses do? They just keep on working.”