“One should offend those who do not look at alternative conclusions. I don’t set out to offend. My plays concern those things I wish were different.” Edward Albee
Revered American playwright, Edward Albee, whose work has enthralled and shocked theatregoers for over four decades, passed away at his home in New York last Friday, at 88 years of age.
Albee was the author of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, the scathing portrait of a decaying marriage between two academics, which opened on Broadway in 1962, won a Tony for Best Play, and was adapted as a film in 1966 starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. In 2007, the work was staged at Belvoir under the direction of Benedict Andrews. Clocking in at over three hours, the devastating domestic epic featured Marton Csokas, Catherine McClements, Robin McLeavy and Simon Stone.
Between 1959 and 2007, Albee penned more than 30 plays including three works that won the Pulitzer Prize – A Delicate Balance, Seascape and Three Tall Woman. His most famous work Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was denied the prize as it was deemed not “uplifting” enough, but Albee’s work was consistently defined by his subversive vision of American life.
Albee’s 2002 play The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?, which chronicles a love affair between a man and a goat, was staged at Belvoir in 2006. The production starred William Zappa and the late Victoria Longley as the comfortable couple thrown into crisis, with Marion Potts directing.
In Potts’ Director’s Note, she noted that Albee’s greatest attributes as a writer were “his wickedness and sheer cheek, his razor-sharp wit and scathing sense of satire, his celebration of language, character and theatrical ‘play’, his relish of the preposterous, the ludicrous… and his unflinching need to expose us to ourselves.”
He will be deeply missed.