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Edward Albee (1928–2016)

Author of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

112+ Works 9,978 Members 125 Reviews 21 Favorited

About the Author

Edward Albee was born in Virginia on March 12, 1928. His first produced play, The Zoo Story, opened in Berlin in 1959 before playing at the Provincetown Playhouse in Greenwich Village the following year. In 1960, it won the Vernon Rice Memorial Award. In 1962, his Broadway debut, Who's Afraid of show more Virginia Woolf?, won a Tony Award for best play. It was adapted into a film starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in 1966. He wrote about 30 plays during his lifetime including The Sandbox, The American Dream, The Death of Bessie Smith, All Over, and The Play About the Baby. He won the Pulitzer Prize three times for A Delicate Balance in 1966, Seascape in 1975, and Three Tall Women in 1991. Three Tall Women also received Best Play awards from the New York Drama Critics Circle and Outer Critics Circle. He won another Tony Award for The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? and a Lifetime Achievement Tony Award in 2005. He had died after a short illness on September 16, 2016 at the age of 88. (Bowker Author Biography) show less


Works by Edward Albee

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1962) 4,655 copies
A Delicate Balance (1966) 487 copies
Edward Albee's Lolita (1981) — Author — 477 copies
The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? (2000) 412 copies
Three Tall Women (1991) 371 copies
Tiny Alice (1964) 305 copies
Seascape: A Play in Two Acts (1975) 139 copies
The Play About The Baby (1998) 115 copies
Everything in the Garden (1707) 88 copies
All Over (1971) 72 copies
The Zoo Story (1959) 66 copies
New York (1980) — Foreword — 59 copies
The American Dream (1960) 56 copies
The Lady from Dubuque (1980) 51 copies
Malcolm (1966) 23 copies
Marriage Play. (1987) 20 copies
Finding the Sun (1982) 17 copies
Occupant (2001) 12 copies
The Death of Bessie Smith (1959) 10 copies
The plays (1982) 9 copies
A Delicate Balance [1973 film] (2003) — Writer — 3 copies
FAM and YAM (1988) 2 copies
Marina 2 copies
Drámák 2 copies
Teatro 2 copies
Listening (1975) 1 copy
Box (1968) 1 copy
Dramen 1 copy

Associated Works

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1975) — Introduction, some editions — 2,921 copies
Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama (1995) — Contributor, some editions — 913 copies
Famous American Plays of the 1950s (1962) — Contributor — 163 copies
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? [1966 film] (1966) — Original book — 144 copies
Writers at Work 03 (1967) — Interviewee — 141 copies
Plays for Actresses (1997) — Contributor — 116 copies
A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer (2007) — Contributor — 104 copies
Louise Nevelson: Atmospheres and Environments (1980) — Introduction, some editions — 55 copies
Thornton Wilder: A Life (2012) — Foreword — 45 copies
Best American Plays: Fifth Series, 1957-1963 (1952) — Contributor — 43 copies
Modern and Contemporary Drama (1958) — Contributor — 43 copies
50 Best Plays of the American Theatre [4-volume set] (1969) — Contributor — 32 copies
14 great plays (1977) — Contributor — 31 copies
Icons & Idols (1998) — Preface — 27 copies
Best American Plays: 7th Series, 1967-1973 (1975) — Contributor — 24 copies
Best American Plays: 6th Series, 1963-1967 (1971) — Contributor — 19 copies
Contemporary one-act plays (1976) — Contributor — 17 copies
Shades of Love: Photographs Inspired by the Poems of C. P. Cavafy (2011) — Foreword, some editions — 11 copies
The Ballad of the Sad Café [1991 film] (1991) — Original play — 6 copies
Someday: Robert Farber: A Retrospective (1997) — Foreword, some editions — 6 copies
The Best Plays Theater Yearbook 2007-2008 (2009) — Contributor — 5 copies


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Common Knowledge



The two plays of Albee's with which I'm the most familiar are: (1) "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" (1962); and (2) "A Delicate Balance" (1966). In both cases, I watched the films before having read the plays. Thus, with "Three Tall Women", having never seen the play on stage -- I wondered how well I'd understand the "text on its own" ... From the beginning, as the characters bicker with one another, a kind of cat-and-mouse game develops, albeit imperceptibly -- Eventually, the ugly, brutal truths arrive (this play is bleak!). And this, I realized based upon my previous knowledge of the playwright's work, is the classic Albee formula -- Wherein mundane discussions morph into a blast of harsh reality ... I'm older than both of the characters "B" and "C" -- But younger than character "A". Having lost both of my parents, as of 2020 -- I understand the situation of "A" in a way that I wouldn't have when I was the ages of both "B" and "C". When "Three Tall Women" was first produced in NYC in 1994, my comprehension of this work would have been limited; too heavy for the person that I was in my mid-30's ... In essence: death is beckoning and "A" knows that her time is short. She's reviewing her life and she's complicated: blunt, cruel, difficult and racist. That being said, she shares certain details of her past with an unflinching honesty -- And it's a past that hasn't been all bad; she's had her fun and wild times along the way. In closing: "A" ends up giving "B", and particularly "C", a life lesson, that being: They should remember what's happening to her now -- As time will fly and it won't be long before both "B" and "C" will be staring down their mortality, as well.… (more)
stephencbird | 2 other reviews | Sep 19, 2023 |
I have seen the film version of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" many times, which follows the play very closely, with the exception of some locale changes. I am still astounded by this play, and the fact that its central mystery, no matter how many times I read it, will never be uncovered. It is a play that is simultaneously avant-garde and accessible, that cuts through the pretension that exists in most "Broadway-worthy" dramatic work that came before it, and that has come after. WAOVW shows, more effectively than any other play I know, how people behave when their masks are supposedly off--when other, deeper layers of defenses are revealed. Although in the script, Martha and George do admit to being childless, to never having had the "son" they speak so much of--whether or not he ever existed can never truly be known. Because George and Martha are such expert game-players, constantly trying to fool themselves, and each other--the "truth" gets lost in that process. This play has been labeled a "dark comedy", but I would call it a "tragicomedy". This work is also very reflective of the early 1960's when it was written--when the social constraints of the 1950's were being sloughed off, and the swinger movement had entered the mainstream. However--George and Martha, or at least Martha, are so far from the stereotype of "swingers" that to label their characters as such would be an insult. As much as both of them are down to earth, they are also academics (or at least a "closet academic" in Martha's case).

The play is essentially "a performance within a performance"; the characters put on their party hats and play the roles of "party personalities", displaying all the faults and enthusiasms of cruel children. George and Martha are the Alpha-Couple, with Martha being the "Alpha Female"--or so it seems. Nonetheless--although George is consistently hounded by Martha--George also wields power in the relationship. In the end, both George and Martha play the fool; yet beneath their chaotic facades, both possess considerable wisdom. They are just trying to get through life; they are failures; they are laughing at themselves; still, one wishes that it could be so much better for them. If life is truly as ugly as the example provided by WAOVW--what other choice do they have, than to be as they are, and go on as they have been? Although the relationship as it is displayed in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" make it appear that George and Martha have a hellish relationship, that may not actually be the case. The end of the play indicates a capacity on both their parts to, at least temporarily, makes peace with their tragedy, and with each other, thus making it bearable for them to go on living, with themselves and with one another.
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stephencbird | 68 other reviews | Sep 19, 2023 |
Disturbing. Fascinating. Disturbing.
blueskygreentrees | 68 other reviews | Jul 30, 2023 |
Pretty ingenius...language is extremely impressive...
Mcdede | 7 other reviews | Jul 19, 2023 |



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