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Three Tall Women

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,805 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
Earning a Pulitzer and three Best Play awards for 1994, Edward Albee has, in Three Tall Women, created a masterwork of modern theater. As an imperious, acerbic old woman lies dying, she is tended by two other women and visited by a young man. Albee's frank dialogue about everything from incontinence to infidelity portrays aging without sentimentality. His scenes are charge ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published September 1st 1995 by Plume (first published 1994)
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Angels in America by Tony KushnerAugust by Tracy LettsArcadia by Tom StoppardThe Pillowman by Martin McDonaghThe History Boys by Alan Bennett
Best Plays Since 1990
91st out of 133 books — 96 voters
The Lady from Dubuque by Edward AlbeeWho's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward AlbeeThe Zoo Story by Edward AlbeeThe American Dream & The Zoo Story by Edward AlbeeThe Zoo Story and Other Plays by Edward Albee
Best of Edward Albee
28th out of 68 books — 1 voter


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sketchbook
Oct 27, 2014 Sketchbook rated it it was amazing
Albee's obnoxious Mum died in 1989 and a few years later
he wrote this impressive play about death and the changes
that occur in one's life. In the 60s, after the huge success
of "Virginia Woolf," he endured personal attacks from dumb-ox
critics like Stanley Kauffmann and Robert Brustein.
Philip Roth put in his censorious 2 cents. Suffering quietly,
Albee made some dramatic missteps. By the 90s the world had
changed and fresh critical blood was around. Freed from all
the fools, Albee came up with, prob
...more
Alan Scott
Mar 04, 2011 Alan Scott rated it it was amazing
Three Tall Women is about Albee’s mother, her experiences, his relationship with her, and her struggles to make sense of and come to terms with the decisions she made throughout her. The play has two acts: Act 1 consists of a long conversation between a 90 year old woman, her caretaker/nurse, and a lawyer representing her estate. Act 2 gives us three versions of the same woman – one 26 years old, one 56 years old, and other in her 90s – all discussing their shared life. It is never stated direct ...more
Tim
Jan 06, 2015 Tim rated it really liked it
Shelves: theatre
This is the fourth of Albee's plays that I have encountered - I saw and loved "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?", saw and read "The Zoo Story", and read another piece that was published with it. "Three Tall Women" was a Pulitzer Prize winner, and it is a fine work with some powerful emotions bubbling and churning throughout. I can imagine it might be a little tricky to stage, because the ratio of talk to action is quite high, and the operative mood is reminiscence.

The story concerns a woman's lif
...more
Christian Engler
Edward Albee's Three Tall Woman is a unique and vougish two act drama that is unlike anything that has been put on stage before, essentially because of the permutation that follows after act one, where the three previous female characters from the first act later shift in act two to three selves of the same person, representing three different stages of life that one of the characters lived. The character in question who is scrutinized is known only as "A", a conservative patrician lady in her n ...more
Behzad
Oct 19, 2013 Behzad rated it it was amazing
I have been nursing my grandpa for the last 2 years so I had total empathy with the characters; they were exceptionally tangible and realistic; the way, for example, the young girl is and the way she talks and behaves are different from those of the old woman.The way family relationships and problems are debated through the course of the play. like most of the other american plays I have read, this one was also about family; I reckon the family theme is a recurrent one to the american literature ...more
Mylissa
Jul 08, 2016 Mylissa rated it liked it
Shelves: plays, 2016-books
Sometimes I wonder how differently I'd feel if I saw the play live.

Starting off as three separate characters and then morphing into different aspects of the same women this brings up lots of different issues about dying and what's important and the passage of time, what we remember, etc. I just didn't always feel like the characters sounded like women. Albee is a gifted writer no doubt about that and there is a lot of thoughtful insight about life put into the play but I didn't always feel like
...more
David Goldman
Apr 29, 2016 David Goldman rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays
This beautifully crafted play takes on the on again, memory, and the malleability of the concept of the self. The play merge Albee's vintage ear for sharp dialogue and experimental theater. While the dialogue is biting, the trademark anger is replaces by a sadness and longing. As if the mood of the last scenes of Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf pervade the entire the entire play.
The first Act sets the old women with her caretaker and unidentified younger women reminiscing about old women's past.
...more
David Jay
Apr 30, 2014 David Jay rated it really liked it
I'm a huge Albee fan and this isn't his best, but still excellent. Interesting, sad, poignant look at aging and the changes we go through as we move toward death. Some wonderful dialogue.

I was confused by the "twist" in the play, if you can call it that. (slight spoiler alert). Wasn't sure if the characters in act one are the supposed to be the same people in act two. Obviously the character A is the same. But the characters B and C, not sure. Perhaps it would have been more clear if I had seen
...more
Alyce Champagne
Apr 11, 2015 Alyce Champagne rated it liked it
Edward Albee's life is sometimes more interesting to me than his plays. Most of us know he was adopted by wealthy parents who were not very nice. Instead of being thrilled that their son turned out to be a world famous, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, they rejected him for being gay and eventually threw him out of the house. After his "father" died, Albee tried to reconcile with his "mother," and thought he had succeeded, taking care of her late in life. After she died, though, this very weal ...more
Wayne
Jul 17, 2009 Wayne rated it it was amazing
I had heard bad reports about this one.
I understood why when I went to the theatre.
Edward Albee was again rubbing our noses in the Uncomfortable.
Happily I relish that and I've always been absorbed by Death, probably because my Dad died 2 weeks before he was to turn 43 and I was a week off 15.
The three women are One. And we see her whole life.
Sometimes her Three Selves come on stage and chat together expressing their fears and hopes to each other and giving each other warnings and advice.
Then it
...more
Tony
Mar 25, 2013 Tony rated it really liked it
Shelves: drama
THREE TALL WOMEN. (1991). Edward Albee. ****.
This won another Pulitzer Prize for Albee, his third. There are four characters; actually, there are only two, and one doesn’t have any lines. Three of the characters are women; they are labeled “A”, “B”, and “C”. The fourth role is that of a boy, about twenty-three years old. “A” is an old woman, about ninety-one or –two-years old. “B” is a woman of about fifty-two-years. She looks a lot like “A” would look at 52. Finally, “C” is a younger woman who
...more
M.H. Vesseur
Apr 01, 2012 M.H. Vesseur rated it it was amazing
A robust butterfly — After seeing 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' I never expected Edward Albee to write something to surpass that. That's probably why 'Three Tall Women' took my by surpise when I first read it. I am not going to spoil the experience for you by telling you too much about the story itself. All I want to say here is that I truly enjoyed the conversations between the three women, their lives' stories, their secrets and the way they interact with each other. Because they're women ...more
Michelle
Sep 14, 2010 Michelle rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Daria
Jun 06, 2013 Daria rated it liked it
Shelves: theatre

Maybe this would have blown my mind had I seen it performed and without any idea as to what the Great Big Catch was. As it was, I read this as a background study, really: the assignment was to create something similar (ahem, replicate the Great Big Catch) - which okay, isn't really that loud of a twist, and the savvy audience will likely start to realize what is going on here in twenty, twenty-five minutes into the performance.

So, no analysis or deep reading of this one - just some extra volunt
...more
Jane Mcneil
Nov 28, 2015 Jane Mcneil rated it it was amazing
With his two-act play, Albee weaves the voices of his mother in three single-letter-named characters and portrays his young adult self as a nonspeaking character entitled Boy. Admittedly autobiographical, Albee does a superb job of breaking down his mother's life. First, he reveals the aging body, then the selective memory, and lastly the reflection of the entire life before the day finally comes for it all to end. (Albee's mother lived to be 92 or 91, if you listen to A.) In reality, she was a ...more
Terence Carlisle
Mar 07, 2016 Terence Carlisle rated it really liked it
I saw the original production of this big comeback play of Albee's. What strikes me the most about the play is the psychological spectacle of it. Like the scene in Amadeus when Salieri marvels at "Don Giovanni" (the spectacle of Mozart "resurrecting" his dead father as the Commendatore to rise from the grave and accuse his son, etc etc), Albee raises his legendarily hateful mother from the grave and does something unnerving and beautiful - he sets her up naked and exposed for judgment, finds her ...more
Owen Stone
Mar 25, 2015 Owen Stone rated it it was amazing
Disturbing and sad...Basically 3 versions of the same woman at different ages in her life, younger, middle aged, and at her deathbed. Doesn't make you feel very excited about growing up, for sure. But Albee was never one to make me feel optimistic..
Milad Ghezellu
Jul 29, 2015 Milad Ghezellu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
تکلیف شخصیتها رو همون اول کار مشخص میکنه، با نامگذاری شخصیت با حروف الفبا. و دیالوگهایی هوشمندانه که مخاطب رو به دیالوگ بعدی هدایت میکنه.
پیچش داستانی در گذر از صحنه اول به صحنه دوم، داستان رو وارد فاز جدیدی میکنه.
...more
Sam
Jun 27, 2010 Sam rated it liked it
I liked this play a lot, but only because the way that the three characters of the play then become aspects of the same person. I love how C says that she will never become A and B, while A and B simply roll their eyes at the foolishness they once possessed for thinking they'd never change. It's interesting to see the same person, but at three different ages, reflect on the same circumstances, but this play also annoyed me because of the uncomfortable sexual descriptions. Sure, mentioning these ...more
Greg Stratman
Apr 30, 2016 Greg Stratman rated it liked it
An intriguing scenario involving three women who, in Act 1, seem to be three distinct individuals, but who, in Act 2, are divulged as being three stages of one woman during her life.
Trevor
Jul 27, 2015 Trevor rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays
Smart, quick, reflective but never slow. Brilliant idea. The main character is based on his adoptive mother whom he claims he didn't like. But Albee really presents her with true empathy.
matt
Nov 09, 2008 matt rated it really liked it
Shelves: theatrepieces
I read this a long time ago but I remembered it just now and I had to include it.

I remember being oddly, overwhelmingly moved by it, I can still feel the salty sting of tears beginning in my eyes as I think about it. I was, like, in its spell for a few hours afterward. I couldn't look at people, I couldn't work, I just stared mournfully into space.

I can't even remember what it was about, really, or even who wrote it (the title I remembered) but I do remember something about the last words...th
...more
Kyle
Aug 08, 2012 Kyle rated it really liked it
After reading a few of his plays, I believe I can safely say Edward Albee was a highly creative playwright, "Three Tall Women" is no exception. Three unknowingly similar women, all at very different ages and stages within their lives, are gathered in the home of the oldest and dying woman. The first act remains grounded in reality besides some subtleties, and the second act verges on the supernatural or cosmically-linked.

Can't help but thinking that this could have been easily and splendidly ada
...more
♥ Sandi
Aug 16, 2014 ♥ Sandi rated it liked it
Shelves: 1-have, 7-play
A tight little play with only 4 characters, one of which is barely visible.

Major characters are 3 women - one young, one middle aged and one old. Now you see 3 characters in the varying stages of life, but only one life is really being portrayed. As you advance through this play you understand that the story of the three is really an amalgamation of only one woman.

Very well orchestrated and tightly woven - enjoyable read.

Noémi Balási
So little words. So huge effect. Three tall women is the most simple drama I've ever read, still with such a take-away. This man is a genius!
Devina  Boughton
Feb 20, 2015 Devina Boughton rated it really liked it
Really interesting, different than any play I've ever read. I'd love to see it!
Nancy
Mar 17, 2014 Nancy rated it liked it
More like a 2.5, but I can see why it was a Pulitzer.
Nathan
Dec 26, 2012 Nathan rated it it was amazing
Damn, Albee knows how to write a play. The simplicity of structure and the straight-forward banter of his characters make this emotionally complex play a must read for anyone interested in modern theatre. One need only look to Albee to see the standard by which all contemporary work must be measured. His prose are pointed and unmitigatedly nuanced. Albee uses a "light touch" surrealism that brings his subject-matter (in this case, the human life-cycle) into blinding focus. Next to "Virginia Wool ...more
Ben Schaffer
Nov 30, 2014 Ben Schaffer rated it really liked it
False
Lisa
Jun 01, 2009 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
I found it really interesting that Albee based A off of his mother in the first act, and A, B, and C off of her in the second. I love when authors steal from life, and I love it more when they admit to it. Taking that into account, I thought this was a realistic portrayel of the different stages of life. I also love Albee's style of writing, as always; it's so clever, intelligent, and has a bit of a bite to it. If you are looking for an easier read in Albee's collection, this is it.
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Edward Franklin Albee III is an American playwright known for works including Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Zoo Story, The Sandbox and The American Dream. His works are considered well-crafted and often unsympathetic examinations of the modern condition. His early works reflect a mastery and Americanization of the Theatre of the Absurd that found its peak in works by European playwrights su ...more
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“That's the happiest moment. When it's all done. When we stop. When we can stop.” 0 likes
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