2005 Tony Awards Q&A: Edward Albee

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Edward Albee's long list of credits contain some of the theater's greatest plays, for which he's won 3 Tony Awards, and 3 Pulitzers. His credits include: The Zoo Story, The American Dream, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Tiny Alice, A Delicate Balance, All Over, Seascape, The Lady From Dubuque, The Man Who Had Three Arms, Finding the Sun, Marriage Play, Three Tall Women, Fragments, The Lorca Play, The Play About the Baby, The Goat or Who Is Sylvia? and Occupant. Albee was awarded the Gold Medal in Drama from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1980, and in 1996 he received both the Kennedy Center Honors and the National Medal of Arts.

How do you feel about receiving this year's Lifetime Achievement Award?

Well, I thought you were supposed to be dead when you got it! I think it's a little premature maybe, and it's awful to think that maybe they're telling me to quit while I'm ahead. You never know!

So you've still got more plays in your artistic pipeline?

Absolutely. The awful thing about getting a lifetime achievement award is that you think you've achieved all that you're going to in your lifetime… I'm working on a couple of plays right now in fact that I think might be even better than the stuff I've done before. That said, I'm still happy to get the award anyway.

Can you tell us anything about what you're working on now?

Well, there's two of them, but right now I'm not telling anyone about them. What if I'm wrong about them not being good ideas? We'll see what happens.

What's your take on having all 4 leads of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf being nominated this year?

I think that having the whole cast nominated is quite proper, and I would have been disappointed with anything else. The one thing that I'm really unhappy about is that our glorious director Anthony Page wasn't nominated…and I know why.

Why's that?

The thing about Anthony is that he doesn't call attention to himself as a director. He's very subtle, and very self-effacing, and you never go see a production that Anthony has directed where you see people saying 'hey, Anthony directed it.' It's as if the play directed itself, because he's that good of a director. That's the sign of a good director.

How does the rest of the production compare for you to the show's previous incarnations?

Well, I like the one that I directed in 1976 with Colleen Dewhurst and Ben Gazzara. That one will always be special to me. I also liked really liked the one with Uta Hagen, and Arthur Hill.

I've liked the majority of the ones that I've seen around the world over the years. This one now though is a top notch production, and I have no problems with it at all. I couldn't be happier!

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