1928-03-18

EDWARD ALBEE, American playwright, born (d: 2016); Hailed as the most compelling playwright since Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller, Albee enjoyed something like instant success as a dramatist. His most powerful work, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (the title of which he says he saw on the walls of a “New York bathroom”) was the most talked-about play of the 1962-63 season. The evening long argument between a married couple is a strong denunciation of modern marital relationships, amusingly bitchy on the surface but murderously vicious underneath.

Some of Albee’s homophobic critics still insist that George and Martha are actually a male couple in drag. What “normal” couple, they insist, would behave so viciously? The assertion is a not-so-subtle form of perpetuating the stereotype that Gay men were either sissies or bitchy. Or even bitchy sissies. Or sissy bitches….whatever…these critics have apparently not read the divorce statistics lately.

In 1963 Albee was denied a Pulitzer Prize for his electrifying play (in one of the rare — if not the only — occasion in which the trustees of the Pulitzer Foundation ignored the vote of the judges). Wonder why, Albee has received three Pulitzer Prizes for drama:—for A Delicate Balance, (1967), Seascape (1975) and Three Tall Women (1994).

Among Albee’s other works for theater are: The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, Judy Garland: The Concert Years. The Zoo Story, The Death of Bessie Smith, Tiny Alice, Malcolm, Breakfast At Tiffany’s (adapted from Capote), The Lorca Play, The Play About the Baby, and The Goat of Who Is Sylvia?