The Play

(Survey of Dramatic Literature)

The action of Three Tall Women occurs during two acts set in the bedroom of A, a once-proud woman, who now, at age ninety-two, shows many of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or some related illness associated with aging. She is forgetful, suspicious, at times hostile, and given to circular conversations. Joining her in her bedroom are B, her fifty-two-year-old secretary and caretaker, and C, the twenty-six-year-old representative of A’s attorney, there to sort out some of A’s financial affairs.

A is convinced that people are trying to rob her. She has reached the point when she must dig into her principal to maintain her standard of living. She enhances her income by selling some of her jewelry but she does not live under a dark cloud of abject poverty. When she complains that she is not made of money, C, presumably in a position to know, contests the statement. A still can employ a secretary and a chauffeur, who figure tangentially in her death scene.

The only person onstage besides the three women is a young man, a “preppie.” He appears from the shadows early in the second act and sits on A’s bed, touching her hand, giving her a peck on the cheek, but saying not a word to her or to any of the others. He is the young Edward Albee, who, in actuality, had a strained relationship with his affluent adoptive mother and who, in real life, arrived in her hospital room only an hour after she died.

The three women...

(The entire section is 595 words.)