January 13, 2011 – February 13, 2011
Featuring Mary Beth Fisher, Maura Kidwell, and Lois Markle
by Edward Albee
directed by Charles Newell
Three Tall Women was written shortly after the death of Edward Albee’s adoptive mother, and it remains his most personal play. Wickedly funny, and told with uncompromising truth, the play takes a long, hard look at the arc of one human life from the perspectives of three different generations—one woman in youth, one woman in middle age, and one woman lying on her death bed. As the elder woman reflects on her life—including the estrangement of her son, widely interpreted to represent Albee himself—she develops clarity of mind that transcends her debilitated body. Three Tall Women will be directed by Artistic Director Charles Newell, whose 2004 production of Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was named “the finest production… [of the play] I’ve seen to date” by Terry Teachout of the Wall Street Journal.
Chicago Sun-Times Theater Critic Hedy Weiss reviews Three Tall Women on Chicago Tonight.
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Meet A, B, and C.
A is a ninety-one (or is it ninety-two?) year-old woman. Tall, aristocratic, and close to death, A can’t even visit the bathroom without being carried there by B. She can’t recall what day it is, either, but her memories of her life’s petty victories and failures remain pristine, as does her acerbic wit, which she deploys with cutthroat precision.
B is fifty-two years old, also tall, whose marriage to her (short) husband (he’s known as “the penguin”) has seen its best and worst moments. After seeing him commit adultery, she gets revenge by sleeping with the stable boy. Finally rid of life’s illusions, B is enjoying her new, comfortable perspective from the vantage point of middle-age.
The youngest, C, is a tall twenty-six year-old. Attractive, sarcastic, competitive to a fault with her sister, she takes a job as a department store mannequin to flirt with the older men. Dating one boy after another without finding the right one, C is impatient for life to hurry up and deliver its promises, but she refuses to believe that she’ll ever grow old like A.
As these three generations of women share their hopes, confront their regrets, and pronounce their resentments, a young unnamed boy with a turbid past enters who will link together all three of them.
Widely read as a brutally honest portrait of Edward Albee’s complicated relationship with his adoptive mother, Three Tall Women remains one of Albee’s most personal, moving, and darkly funny plays.