We had the pleasure of watching Three Tall Women, a play written by Edward Albee, at the Lace Market Theatre, Nottingham. It was first premiered in 1994 in New York. It a play about three women at different stages of their lives.
The play is set in an elderly woman’s bedroom, with two other women. The elderly woman is approximately aged ninety, another is in her fifty’s (middle-aged) and another in her twenties.
The opening scene resonated with me and I guess with many others too, with an elderly parent who is ‘waiting to die.’ It felt quite sombre. Character A was sat in a chair looking unhappy with her head in her hand. I took a breath and I heard others too. All looked bleak until Character A started talking.
The play was a mixture of subject matters, for instance, love, disappointments, race, sex, illness, death and life etc. all intertwined with comedy. These emotive subjects were delivered in a way that was thought-provoking and was made easier to digest because of the comedy. Each character had their own experiences and shared them throughout. Character A’s illness had a profound effect on Character B and C, which was reflected in the opening scene of Act Two.
I found it interesting that Character A, according to Edward Albee, was based on his ‘…adoptive mother, whom I knew from my infancy…until her death…’ The character appeared to be in pain, physically and emotionally. She also had issues with her memory, which could have possibly been as a result of having dementia or Alzheimer’s. She often got lost with her thoughts; she forgot what she was talking about and inaccurately retold events. The portrayal of Character A (as an elderly dying woman) was believable, and the way she moved across the stage (crying out in physical pain) resonated with me and reminded me of my mother.
I was impressed by the lengthy dialogues that were delivered without fault, except for one minor prompt, but then that’s the beauty of a first night. The theatre wasn’t as full as I had expected. However, those who attended showed their appreciation at the end with hearty applause.
Character A was played by Amanda Pearce, Character B was played by Susan Lee, Character C was played by Charlotte Thomas and the boy by Harrison Lee.
Sharon R M Stevens
2020© Sharon RM Stevens