Entertainment » Theatre

Albee Calls 'Curtain' From the Grave; Playwright's Will Demanded Unfinished Work Be Destroyed

Thursday Jul 6, 2017

Kaufman and Hart may have written "You Can't Take It With You," but nine months after his death at 88, playwright Edward Albee is proving them wrong.

The three-time Pulitzer Prize-winner made plans to take any unfinished business with him. According to the New York Times, the celebrated dramatist left instructions in his will to destroy any of his unfinished manuscripts as well as potentially early drafts of work he published.

"If at the time of my death I shall leave any incomplete manuscripts I hereby direct my Executors (i) to destroy such incomplete manuscripts (including, without limitation, all copies thereof in physical, electronic or any other medium and any materials in any medium from which copies can be derived or recovered) as soon as is practicable after my death," Albee's will stated.

Albee went on to stipulate that his unpublished work would not be made available, even for archival or historical purposes. Albee's executors were instructed to treat his unfinished materials as strictly confidential before they were destroyed "to ensure that such materials are not copied, made available for scholarly or critical review or made public in any way."

Playbill notes that among the plays that will never see a first rehearsal nor audience is "Laying and Egg," which he withdrew twice from Off-Broadway's Signature Theatre. Prior to its postponement, 2013 marketing materials for the Signature described the action of the play as such: "Faced with a domineering mother, an adoring husband, and the damning conditions of her late father's will, a middle-aged woman renews her vow to get pregnant with chaotic results."

Throughout his career, Albee credited Samuel Beckett with being one of his strongest artistic influences. After hating an interpretation of his play "End Game" mounted by American Repertory Theatre, the Irish playwright had stipulations put in his will that not only the text but stage directions and design of his plays were to be followed to-the-letter. His estate has been famously litigious with offenders. Given the revelations of Albee's final wishes, it appears as though Beckett's influence extended from the page to the grave.


Add New Comment

Comments on Facebook