The Pulitzer Prize award-winning Three Tall Women premiered in New York City on March 18, 1994. The play proved a popular success and ran for two years, first opening at the Vineyard Theatre and later continuing its run at the Promenade Theatre. It was widely hailed by the theater critics and won not only the Pulitzer, but also the Drama Critics Circle Award, the Lucille Loritel Award, and the Outer Critics Circle Award for best play. The drama’s critical success rejuvenated Albee’s fading playwriting career, which had been in a slump for more than a decade.
The play is structured in two acts populated by three women generically named A, B, and C. The setting of act 1 is a “wealthy bedroom, French in feeling,” the residence of A, a dying matriarchal figure in her nineties who is attended by her companion B, who is fifty-two. The play opens with C, twenty-six years old and A’s young lawyer, arguing with A about her true age. The old woman fiercely rails on about her life, her health, her approaching death, and the many painful memories that she still carries. A is especially embittered because she believes that her estranged homosexual son does not come to visit, although B tells the audience that he does. Despite B’s attempts at conciliation between the two women, C’s character reacts negatively to the old woman. A lively, sometimes hostile, funny, and often profane discussion erupts among all three women. The act concludes when A’s majestic, Lear-like character suffers a stroke.
Act 2 opens full of...
(The entire section is 633 words.)