Dramaworks' 'Three Tall Women' a powerful portrayal of aging

Review

Dramaworks' 'Three Tall Women' a powerful portrayal of aging

Apr 29 2010
Hap Erstein | Palm Beach Post

When Edward Albee's Three Tall Women premiered in 1994, much was made of the play's tabloid aspects. The renowned writer who had renounced a world of privilege was now aiming his acid-dipped pen at the adoptive mother on whom he turned his back. "...in a crisp, powerfully performed production at Palm Beach Dramaworks, it is not the autobiographical aspects of the work that dominate. Instead, the evening's impact comes from the second act, when Albee atomizes the old woman into three ages, viewing the arc of a life as it heads toward death, finding comfort in the final release." This marks the fifth script by Albee--surely our greatest living American playwright--that Dramaworks has presented. Not only does his in-and-out-of- fashion career fit the company's mission of exploring seldom-revived contemporary classics, but there is something about his theatrics and articulate language that gets this serious little troupe's juices flowing. Under the laser-sharp direction of J. Barry Lewis, you are not likely to see as piercing yet cool-toned a production all year in South Florida. Events take place in a richly appointed, formal bedroom--another first-rate scenic design by Michael Amico--where a middle-aged nurse (Angie Radosh) tends to the whims of her patient/employer (Beth Dixon), cajoling her past angry outbursts and trying, as much as possible, to keep her spontaneous recollections on track. While Three Tall Women is no Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, it is full of the wisdom of age, with an emotional range from bitterness to acceptance. It deserves its place on Albee's top shelf, and on Dramaworks'. Grade: A The verdict: Albee's third Pulitzer Prize-winner, a fictional depiction of his mother and perhaps all mothers, portrayed by three fine actresses simultaneously.