Monday, November 16, 2009

Albee as tyrant

Edward Albee wants his plays performed the way he envisioned them; Samuel Beckett did the same.
Is that so wrong?
Or is the essence of theater so collaborative that insisting on to-the-letter productions demeans innovative directors?
What seemed outrageous and scandalous and more suited to the middle-aged in 1962 (when Who’s Afraid premiered) might well have more impact today if performed as even more vindictive and biting — and with younger, more energetic actors — today. That’s part of how theater evolves, stays relevant, and avoids being mere museum theater.
Because he’s a theater giant and because he's a fellow adopted person (who's willing to explore his neuroses on that topic), I admire Albee. But he’s wrong on this issue.
[photo of Edward Albee from]

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At November 16, 2009 5:23 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got suckered into playing Peter in THE ZOO STORY in Portland because one of my favorite actors in town was set to play Jerry. He lost the role because--we were told--Albee nixed him because he didn't like his headshot.

I was a little puffed up at having been approved by Albee--but the director informed me that Albee doesn't bother to vet the people who play Peter.

He also visited Portland later that season. Asked a question about Frank Langella's performance in SEASCAPE, he said he thought Langella was a very good actor "when he wasn't playing human beings."
--Kevin Connell

At November 16, 2009 8:16 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's too bad you missed reviewing a great production of "String of Pearls" at the studio theatre... I guess you were too busy compiling "tidbits" that related to you personally.

At November 18, 2009 12:25 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

ARt was considering a "Virginia Woolfe," but nixed the idea because they were required to send head-shots and resumes to Albee ahead of time and were told the process could take several months before he approved ot disapproved the four actors. If he didn't like someone, the entire process had to start over again.


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