Aux Dog The­atre pre­sents Al­bee’s ‘Three Tall Women’

Albuquerque Journal - - ARTS - BY KATHALEEN ROBERTS AS­SIS­TANT ARTS WRITER

“A” is thin, rich and 92 years old, a fos­sil of the old guard and im­pe­ri­ous­ness.

“B” is a 52-year-old ver­sion of A, to whom she is the hired care­taker.

“C” is a 26-year-old ver­sion of B, a lawyer try­ing to or­ga­nize some un­paid bills.

Ed­ward Al­bee mined this trio of “Three Tall Women” into a play that won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize.

Both hi­lar­i­ous and hor­ri­fy­ing, it opens on Fri­day, Feb. 15, at the Aux Dog The­atre, run­ning through March 10.

“I be­lieve it’s one of Al­bee’s best works,” di­rec­tor Fred­er­ick Pon­zlov said. “Ev­ery word stands for a rea­son.”

“A” is a thinly veiled ver­sion of the play­wright’s mother, who never for­gave him for leav­ing her and — most im­por­tant — for be­ing gay.

“He never re­ally got on with his fam­ily,” Pon­zlov said. “They were very af­flu­ent, and he never fit in. He was al­ways at odds with them.

“He had a very tor­tured life, any­way. He was ini­tially very clos­eted. He had a se­ries of very con­vo­luted

relationships.”

The play opens with A bit­terly re­call­ing both the mem­ory of her bad mar­riage as well as her son. B is her cyn­i­cal seen-it-all care­taker. C is try­ing to bring or­der to the chaos with an air of self­as­sur­ance.

“My con­cept of the play is the sec­ond act is the last three min­utes of her life,” Pon­zlov said. “It’s her first mar­riage, her rage at the son who left her. She’s pro­cess­ing all of that at the end of her life.

“It’s fas­ci­nat­ing, and it seems like it wouldn’t work, but it does,” he added. “It’s also very funny.”

Mov­ing through a liv­ing time-lapse photography, each char­ac­ter rep­re­sents the essence of A, Al­bee’s mother, who he claimed bought him from an adop­tion agency for $133.30, for­ever hop­ing to re­turn him.

“Three Tall Women” pre­miered on Broad­way last March, star­ring Glenda Jack­son, Lau­rie Met­calf and Ali­son Pill.

The play helped Al­bee re­gain the re­spect of the New York theater crit­ics, who had de­spaired that the play­wright they had lauded in the 1960s and 1970s had dried up cre­atively.

Al­bee, who died in 2016, once called “Three Tall Women” “a kind of ex­or­cism.”

Lacey Bing­ham

Laura Nor­man

Til­cara Webb

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