Albee on Albee

The Village Voice has an interview with one of my favorite playwrights, Edward Albee, who says that one of his favorite playwrights is one of my other favorite playwrights, Thornton Wilder (which, it logically follows, means that I am one of Thornton Wilder’s favorite playwrights!):

VV: [Academics] talk about you as part of a tradition of great American playwriting, as an inheritor to O’Neill, to Williams, to Miller.

EA: Everybody forgets the most important of those: Thornton Wilder. If you’re going to have those three others on that list, you have to include Wilder. O’Neill is a very powerful playwright, but he has a tin ear. Wilder had a beautiful ear. Especially with Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth. That talent is extraordinary.

VV: Have you seen the revival of Our Town?

EA: Oh, it’s the best production of it I’ve ever seen. Without question. Because it understands that the play is not a Christmas card. It’s a tough, existentialist play. If you’re not crying in the first 10 minutes that you’re there, you’re at the wrong play.

And, of course, there are some good Albee-isms:

VV: So you’re not a great believer in director’s theater?

EA: Good God, no. We don’t write plays to have them fucked over by other people.


VV: How has Off-Broadway changed in 50 years?

EA: When we did Krapp’s Last Tape and The Zoo Story, ticket prices were $2. It cost $1,500 to produce. Now, it would cost $300,000, and tickets are $65 to $70. And it has very little to do with inflation. Everyone’s greedier these days.

VV: Have your literary tastes changed much over the years?

EA: No, although I’ve become more and more impatient with mediocrity. I’ve always liked the tough ones, the ones who try to make everyone think differently about the possibilities of the art form.

Read the whole thing here.