(Meaning Albee really rocks our world, and plays crazy, incendiary mind games on his audience, not to mention his terrorized, terrorizing characters. More on that in the comments below.)
It’s Arena Stage’s last week of running The Edward Albee Festival, having presented a sterling Steppenwolf Theatre production of Albee’s masterpiece, WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF and the area premiere of the two one-acts, AT HOME AT THE ZOO (which we’ll be seeing Thursday). Additionally, the DC theater community participated in reading the entire Albee ouevre, and Theater J’s turn came this past weekend. Read about our contribution on the Arena Stage blog, and then, in our comments, share thoughts about the readings and the productions.
Here’s an excerpt from the Arena Stage interview with Theater J director, Shirley Serotsky.
What inspired you to apply for the Edward Albee Festival?
Shirley: David Dower made the project sound quite exciting–as did D. Ohlandt, the Festival Producing Fellow in follow up emails! It is interesting for us to look at writers who seem very much outside of our mission– writers like Edward Albee who is so WASP-defined– and to find the ways in which these very much non-Jewish writers actually do connect to our mission. Edward Albee–so well known for his patrician leading ladies and plays about WASP-y family dynamics– seems like a far stretch for a theater committed to producing plays that speak to the Jewish experience. Yet Albee’s plays often surround issues of identity; they include stories of the outsider; of trying to fit in. These themes are familiar to us.
Tell us about the play you’ll be reading in the Festival– what is intriguing about it? What’s exciting? What drew you to it?
We’ll be presenting Three Tall Women. Albee has written openly that he based the character A on his adoptive mother, and that she was, indeed, casually prejudiced. He wrote in 1994, in the introduction to the play, “I harbor no ill-will toward her; it is true I did not like her much, could not abide her prejudices, her loathings, her paranoias, but I did admire her pride, her sense of self… I was touched by the survivor, the figure clinging to the wreckage… refusing to go under.” Survival stories– these we are also familiar with.