A Delicate Balance

A Delicate Balance Edwards Albee s Pulitzer Prize winning play A Delicate Balance reveals the emotional savagery of suburbia and the psychological terror of empty lives First produced in this dark drawing room com

  • Title: A Delicate Balance
  • Author: Edward Albee
  • ISBN: 9780452278097
  • Page: 289
  • Format: Paperback
  • Edwards Albee s Pulitzer Prize winning play A Delicate Balance reveals the emotional savagery of suburbia and the psychological terror of empty lives First produced in 1966, this dark drawing room comedy may be Albee s masterpiece, as powerful in its 1996 revival as it was thirty years before.Its characters maintain a delicate balance between self destruction and survivalEdwards Albee s Pulitzer Prize winning play A Delicate Balance reveals the emotional savagery of suburbia and the psychological terror of empty lives First produced in 1966, this dark drawing room comedy may be Albee s masterpiece, as powerful in its 1996 revival as it was thirty years before.Its characters maintain a delicate balance between self destruction and survival when a bitter 36 year old daughter returns home to the family nest after the collapse of her fourth marriage The much wed Julia shatters the uneasy peace of her long married parents, Agnes and Tobias, and their permanent guest acerbic, unpredictable, and witty alcoholic sister in law Claire When two lifelong friends gate crash this impromptu reunion, the masks of civility drop and raw feelings emerge Filled with shades of meaning, subtleties, and whole paragraphs of brilliant dialogue, A Delicate Balance has become classic theater, a timeless mirror of the worst, and sometimes the best, aspects of modern life.

    One thought on “A Delicate Balance”

    1. This play reminded me of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf for all the obvious reasons—the biting sarcasm, the viciousness lying just below the surface of the faux pleasantries. The scope of the discomfort is a bit broader in this Albee play, though. Instead of the focus being solely on the married couple, other bystanders get sucked into the fray. There’s even a slap across the face in one scene, which is something I always get a kick out of. Face-slapping scenes are the best, aren’t they? [...]

    2. Inspired by Albee's memories of his grotesque parents and drunken aunt, living in suburban luxury, he becomes stylized with a hint of Pinter and introduces a neighbor couple who seek refuge because of an unknown "threat." In this play about Nothing, Albee punctuates his themes of loneliness & refined confinement with savage talk. A lot of brandy in a dribble glass.

    3. Very good writing. I disliked all the characters. I didn't know what the play was about, which is OK, but a critic's blurb on the cover stated it was about the nothingness in our lives. It did have that 60's, nihilistic, hopelessness feel to it, which I often like (Heller, Vonnegut), but these characters annoyed the crap out of me and made me want to suggest they get hobbies or go for a bike ride. Something.

    4. Edward Albee is one of my favorite playwrights, and this play does not disappoint. The story involves an upper middle class, dysfunctional family that begins to crumble as the weight of alcoholism, divorce, age, and fear becomes too much for their already shaky home to stand. Albee's use of humor is subtle, but brilliant, and the drama cuts deep to something very personal in the reader. It is very deserving of the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award.

    5. I liked this more than I thought I would, you can really see a shift between the slightly more realistic 'virginia woolf' stuff and the weird later 'seascape' stuff. I really like that the plot is set in motion by the couple arriving simply because they are 'afraid'. That he doesn't feel the need to explain this. It's an important thing to realize, that you can just include a plot development like that and it doesn't require an explanation.

    6. If you like your plays full of self-obsessed, pitiful drunks, whining about the nothing was of existence and tearing each other apart with sarcasm, then you'll love this play.

    7. This one doesn't quite grab you by the collar as "Virginia Woolf" does. Rather, it settles above your diaphragm and claws at you from the inside.

    8. "We do what we canwe keep it from falling apart"Honestly, I could write essays and essays about this play and I've spent probably too much time trying to figure out how to write this review. I first saw a production of it about six months ago and I've been preoccupied with it since then - running so many of the lines through my mind so regularly. I've only recently purchased and read it, but having it in print has only made my attachment more intense. It's been a long time since I've come across [...]

    9. Albee’s first Pulitzer Prize. Some argued at the time that the play was “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” unsexed and with its mouth washed out with soap in order to win over the Pulitzer committee (which shockingly passed over “Virginia Woolf” a few years before) and there are certainly elements of the plays that call each to each, but this is a much more ambitious, philosophical, even metaphysical work. Absurdist drama of the highest order, a black comedy sparkling with stinging wit [...]

    10. CLAIRE: Is Julia having another divorce?TOBIAS: Hell, I don't knowAIRE: (Takes the glass.) It's only your daughter. Thank you. I should imagine--from all that I haveed, that it is come-home time. (Offhand.) Why don't you kill Agnes?TOBIAS: (Very offhand.) Oh, no, I couldn't do thatAIRE: Better still, why don't you wait till Julia separates and comes back here, all sullen and confused, and take a gun and blow all our heads off? Agnes first--through respect, of course, then poor Julia, and finally [...]

    11. Albee is a brilliant playwright with a theatrical mastery and talent that resonates with Samuel Beckett. The play is charged with malice and characters on the verge of nervous breakdowns. Their sanity is sustained by a delicate balance they try to keep as they face the madness of daily living, their haunting pasts and monotonous futures. That delicate balance is something we all try to manage subconsciously; keeping us just a few blocks away from the dark side.

    12. Albee is one of the best contemporary playwrights out there, if not THE best, and this is the best of the best. You should absolutely read or see Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, since that is known as his magnum opus, but I think this is actually a better play. It's beautiful and haunting and thought-provoking and touches on grand, universal themes yet holds Albee's originality.

    13. my thoughts on "a delicate balance" or what's the problem with rich, white, and privileged americans 101 by edward albeeis play started off as very confusing for me as it startled me as a reader through its unconventional dissection of the storytelling and narrative progression. that was something unique i found at first until i read the whole play. this is the first time i have read albee and it was breathtaking, heart-stopping reading experience. i didn't expect what was in the end. it also lo [...]

    14. A Delicate Balance by Edward AlbeeOh! What Lovely Guests!This is an intriguing, dramatic and funny play. There is a word for that- tragicomedy.On the surface, we have some fierce fighting, after all, there is even a pistol pulled out.But underneath, together with the undertone of desperation, we could laugh at some of the things these people do. First of all, we have a family, with Tobias and Agnes the father and mother of Julia. In the same household lives Claire, Agnes’ alcoholic sister.At t [...]

    15. A DELICATE BALANCE. (1966). Edward Albee. *****. This was a Pulitzer Prize winning play from this playwright that manages to explore the stresses and strains within family life, and the forces that are applied to keep things in balance – necessary for survival. Agnes and Tobias are a married couple in their late 50s. They have reached a point in their lives where they have lived more in the past than remains to them in the future. Agnes’ sister, Claire, lives with them. She avers that she is [...]

    16. A wonderful play. It's long but gripping. We read it in our playreading group. Despite the length (the play is "talky", and despite our readers who are hardly real actors, attention was rapt throughout. This play deserved the Pulitzer that it won in 1967. (In my book, not every Pulitzer prize winning play merited that honor.) These points notwithstanding, I gave the play 4, not 5 stars, because its literary merits, which deserve 5 stars, appeal predominantly to the intellectual. Interesting that [...]

    17. I came across this play in my Theater course in college this semester. The one thing that struck me throughout the play is the uneasiness between Tobias and Claire. A critical reading of the play and after much discussion with my professor, the scenario was clear- Claire is a rape victim and the "common" aspect between Tobias and Harry that Claire tried to point out is is practically this. The phrase "hot and wet July" made me think constantly about it and gradually the horrific aspect underlyin [...]

    18. According to the cover quotes, many consider this Albee’s finest work, but I prefer Zoo Story and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf far more than this one. This play focuses on a upper middle class couple (Agnes and Tobias), their alcoholic sister (Claire), their daughter Julia (a serial divorcee), and their best friends Harry and Edna. The play unfolds over a three-day period where they trade barbs with each other about their dysfunctional lives, and the stifled existences each of them have be [...]

    19. bleak. depressing. I ran lights for a production of this play and halfway through the run one of the actors mentioned how draining it was to play, night after night, such an unhappy character in a play that is so tense from beginning to end.excerpt:“Time.Time happens, I suppose.To people. Everything becomes…too late, finally. You know it’s going on…up on the hill; you can see the dust, and hear the cries, and the steel…but you wait; and time happens. When you do go, sword, shield…fin [...]

    20. Alluding to it's timelessness Albee is said to have changed only 2 lines before the 1996 revival. Though well struck, the play, as a whole, is dead; a post War, WASPy, booze-soaked relic of the past. A cocktail period piece that barely has the legs of a good chapter or two of Updike or Cheever; though Parker Posie was born to be cast as Julia and Shirley Maclaine would be a pitch perfect Claire.If it's an untimely guest you're after, stick to Godot. Otherwise, Journey remains the singular Americ [...]

    21. I saw the play and became interested in reading the script directly. I read a couple of other plays by Albee while I was at it. I loved the play performed and would like to see other versions of it but perhaps I will not re-read it. It has been awhile since I read this but I recall finding it somewhat challenging reading desperate people who keep talking about themselves. But the experience of friends who fled from their house or the man and his cat all seem real to me when I saw the play perfor [...]

    22. The first new Albee I have read since Three Tall Women, this Pulitzer Prize-winner is characteristic of that subtle, unsettling style of Albee's; the one that seems to surreptitiously, subconsciously strip you of all defenses. His mastery of use of complex language to elicit the rawest of emotion is retroactively indicative of all his proceeding work, and just goes to show how true talent never fades.

    23. This play seems rather typical of the period for which it was written. A bit boring by today's standards and I think that even a remounting would have to be seen as a period piece rather than a current look at human behavior.I wouldn't mind seeing a brilliant, current production, by I can see where I might easily be bored by a less than stellar performance. A good director will keep the humor out front and the drama, biting at the edges.

    24. Bunch of annoying and despicable characters arguing.Along the lines of Who's afraid of Virginia Wolf, Albee dedicates an entire play about absolutely nothing. Only that this is repetitive and tad boring.

    25. More marital madness. Greater nuance than Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf? but not nearly as dementedly entertaining.

    26. اگنس :چیزی که برام حیرت انگیزه ، اینه که بالاخره یه روز مشاعرم رو از دست میدم ولی کی ؟ بعد با خودم فکر میکنم که هرگز همچه اتفاقی نمیوفته و اگه بیوفته من متوجهش نمیشم و شاید اصلا این اتفاق افتاده یک خانواده از دستاورد های ایده ی رویای امریکایی رو میبینیم نمایش زندگی این خانواده [...]

    27. This is an excellent, masterfully crafted play--no one does complicated, impossible-but-still-so-human psychological layers like Edward Albee does--and it makes me feel so many things. I'm not sure to what extent we're supposed to read these characters as universal--is this a story about them and their lives, applicable to people like them, and a cautionary tale for the rest of us? Or is it supposed to be the dark mirror of "This Is What Humanity Is, Deep Down"? Because, ultimately, as much as I [...]

    28. Added 5/8/13.Last week I watched the film adaptation of the play, A Delicate Balance, by Edward Albee. I found the film to be very boring, despite the great cast.Cast: Cast: Katharine Hepburn, Paul Scofield, Lee Remick, Kate Reid, Joseph Cotten, Betsy Blair/title/tt0069958/?NETFLIX DESCRIPTION: "Part of the American Film Theatre series, Edward Albee's Pulitzer Prize-winning play gets the star treatment with Katharine Hepburn and Paul Scofield playing a long-married couple who'd rather be alone t [...]

    29. A brief history of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama: No award was given in 1963 or 1964. In 1965, Frank Gilroy’s The Subject was Roses won the prize. In 1966, no award was given. In 1967, Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance won the prize. In 1968, again no award was given.Which is all to say: In the 1960s, only six plays were honored with Pulitzers, and the two honored during the “drought” both feature dysfunctional families. The Subject was Roses focuses on a lower-class family, A Delicate Ba [...]

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