Albee on Albee (And Thornton Wilder)

August 27, 2010

In a recent interview with Alexis Soloski, playwright Edward Albee discussed Thornton Wilder and the Barrow Street Theatre production of Our Town. Read the full interview in the Village Voice.

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Edward Albee has won Obies, Tonys, Pulitzers, and membership in a pantheon of American playwrights that includes Eugene O'Neill, Tennessee Williams, and Arthur Miller. (He thinks Thornton Wilder ought to make the list, too.)

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.

VV: I think I started crying during the last 10 minutes.

EA: Once you've seen it, when you go back and see it again, you start crying a lot earlier.

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