õ Read ó Edward Albee: A Singular Journey by Mel Gussow ì still engrossing Just finished section on Who s Afraid of Virginia Woolf loved it Can t believe it was censored 1963 in some countries and lambasted for Language Mr Albee has always fascinated me and this biography did not disappoint I m very glad, however, that I read it after I attempted roles in Who s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Three Tall Women especially the latter I m sure much of what I learned here would have influenced my interpretations of Martha and A and probably not for the better.
Mel Gussow S Critically Acclaimed Biography Of The Three Time Pulitzer Prize Winning Playwright Seascape, A Delicate Balance,Tall Women , Who First Electrified The American Theatre Scene In The S With His Groundbreaking The Zoo Story Followed By The Legendary Who S Afraid Of Virginia Woolf Albee, the author of Who s Afraid of Virginia Woolf , and other plays, is given a deluxe biographical treatment here from a man who has known him for almost forty yearsand sometimes worships him a little too much.
Albee was adopted by a wealthy, emotionless set of parents His father, Reed, was absent, and his mother, Frankie, was cool and detached This upbringing, where he was seenas a possession than a family member, would, of course, affect his writings Constantly kicked out of schools, and never graduating from college, Albee turned to writing, his first success being Zoo Story Zoo Story, a short play about a fateful meeting of two men in a park, received mixed notices from assorted playwrights and critics Here, biographer Gussow overextends his protection of his subject too much He dismisses the honest critiques of two playwriting giants Thornton Wilder and William Inge, Gussow does an excellent job of making his enigmatic subject knowable, human and in some cases noble This informed and richly detailed bio is compulsively readable without being gossipy The biographer takes a respectful, even handed tone and his real life encounters with Albee lend the book color and credibility The author only lost me when he rehashed Albee s recurrent themes, offered his not Albee s theories on where a play might have come from or speculated on roads not taken What would have happened if etc In a book so effectively filled with facts, quotes, descriptions and observations, additional theorizing just seemed unnecessary Not to the detriment of the book however Albee s worlds professional and personal are very skillful Mel Gussow s abilities as a journalist and his personal friendship with Edward Albee allow him to make this the definitive biography of a great American playwright I came to read this as I prepared for attending a performance of The Goat or Who is SylviaThe theater company had recommended this as the best biography they had found.
Chronicling the life of someone who has become an icon of the American theater is difficult, but Mel Gussow is able to combine the personal, literary, and show business details in a dramatic narrative that does justice to Edward Albee I was intrigued to discover that among Albee s partners was one of my other favorite playwrights, Terence McNally, but the biography highlights all of Albee s relationshi First class biography on a fascinating subject, complete with in depth analysis on most of Albee s major works leading up to and including The Play About The Baby Wish it had been published a few years later to include The Goat, but of course that s not a fault of the book itself The fact that the author has a personal relationship with the subject stretching back 4 decades or so helps immensely Great, complex portrait I would be interested to see how this measures up against other Albee biographies.
I enjoyed reading this book I know Mr Albee in passing, know his work, and this was a fascinating insight into the life behind the artist It brings insight to his works, but at the same time Mr Albee manages to maintain his dignity and privacy.
An insider s look at one of our most thrilling, inventive modern voices in the theater today Albee is the playwright who gave us classics like the one act Zoo Story, Who s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Delicate Balance, and Three Tall Women Author of this biography, Mel Gussow has known Albee personally since the 1960s, and the research is extensive and thorough More than anything, Albee has influenced so many younger playwrights who still work in theater today John Guare, Tony Kushner, John Patrick Shanley and so manyA terrific read for anyone who is interested in plays, and in theater.