note: entire contents copyright 2008 by Beverly Creasey
The Lyric Stage Companyís THREE TALL WOMEN (playing through April 26th) isnít exactly the play I remember having seen a number of times. This means that either Iím getting older and canít remember as well as I could (which is, after all, the essence of Albeeís play on aging) --- or that director Spiro Veloudos has made the play his own. I think itís the latter. Then again, I would.
I remember three stages of reflection in the play: The young idealist is full of hope and determination. Her middle aged counterpart is liberated by the freedom to do what she wants (more or less) and the aged, failing doyenne grapples with an unfamiliar vulnerability. In Veloudosí configuration, we get four views: The twenty something, the fifty something and two cantankerous elderly versions, one whose arteries are hardening at the end and one whose heart has hardened long before that.
Albee nails the vicissitudes of old age: the loss of inhibitions, the disregard for social convention, the unreasonable mind, the uncontrollable body, and the impish glee when caretakers are vanquished. In THREE TALL WOMEN he shows us, whether we like it or not, where weíre all going.
Liz Hayes is charming as the spunky young woman who plans to marry well and live life to the fullest. Paula Plum gives another solid performance as the woman at the center of the play, wiser for experience but unbowed by lifeís disappointments. Dan Kerrigan, as the estranged son, is almost completely overshadowed by these three powerful actresses.
Anne Scurria, as the ninety-two year old widow, begins her two hour journey with us as an uncompromising, nasty old biddy---and alas, thereís no place for her to go from there. Even when we see her slightly younger, sheís the same tough old bird without an ounce of sweetness, just quicker on the draw. We should feel pity for her plight but Scurria doesnít give us any wiggle room. Scurria and Veloudos arenít making it easy for us, but perhaps thatís their point. Life isnít easy.