Director’s Chair – A Delicate Balance

The Director’s Chair

By Les Maurseth

“A Delicate Balance”

I was asked to suggest a play I might be interested in directing.  I considered Aspirin and Elephants to be a success and was proud of everyone involved in that production. I hadn’t even thought about directing again, until I was asked, so I started looking for another play about LIFE – in theatrical terms, a drama.  It’s not easy to find a drama that fits our demographics, but I did.

Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama and has been performed hundreds of times with talented actors, many of whom we all know and enjoy.

Some think Albee’s plays and characters are too complex.  Some have said they are “dark”.  But that’s not the case.  The characters are real people with real problems – problems that most of us can relate to.  We will show them to you – the real people and the real problems.  We have had many spirited discussions about these interesting characters, what they have done and what they should have done.  I believe you will have similar spirited discussions once you have seen a performance – possibly even during intermission.

I want to dispel one aspect of the play that some waste time on – why are they there?  In the play, Harry and Edna show up at Agnes and Tobias’ home expecting to stay there, expecting to move in. The author’s script does not reveal the reason why they are there.  It doesn’t matter why they are there, but I know why.  I have read their words many times to figure them out, and I have read a medical article that describes their condition exactly – chronic loneliness.

“Studies show that chronic loneliness triggers an increase of stress hormones such as cortisol and the ‘fight or flight hormones.’  … It can disrupt sleep patterns, increase risk of suicide, precipitate depression, and even affect memory.  …  Older people suffer …  increased risk of heart disease …”

Harry speaks of his shortness of breath (heart) and both speak of being tired and frightened.  Clear symptoms of chronic loneliness, although they don’t know it.  So, the ‘fight or flight hormones’ cause them to flee their home and go to the only people they feel safe and comfortable with – their best (only?) friends of over 40 years

However, their presence threatens to upset A DELICATE BALANCE that Agnes and Tobias have crafted for themselves.  A balance that is already severely tested due to her live-in alcoholic sister (with a salacious past).  Then, daughter Julia returns home escaping her fourth failed marriage and it all becomes too much.  It unravels dramatically.

Will they be able to recover

A DELICATE BALANCE?

Well, with the able help of our Assistant Director Pam Solace, the very talented cast of Betsy Froderman, Sandra Dyke, Chelsea Cantrell, Kassie Walters, Brian Cantrell and I will show you.  (Yes, some of them are new to our stage, but I like bringing in new actors.  If you’d like to give it a try, let me know!  Anytime!)

Performances:

August 2, 3, and 9 at 7:00 PM

August 4, 10, and 11 at 2:30 PM

Tickets are available online at www.pinewoodplayers.com and at the Pinewood Playhouse Box Office on Saturdays from 10:00 am to noon. Tickets may also be purchased in the Pinewood Country Club lobby on Fridays from 5:00 to 6:30 pm. Need assistance to purchase tickets? Call our Ticket Hotline at (928) 300-0481.

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