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Three Tall Women

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  1,514 ratings  ·  55 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,580)
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Sketchbook
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
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 4 of 5 stars
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
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
David Jay
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
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
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 4 of 5 stars
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
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Daria

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
Owen Stone
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..
Jane Mcneil
Wow. Beautiful. Raw. Poignant. Albee's bio of his adoptive narcissistic mother, perhaps, but the dialogue woven from three ages by the same woman is clever. Ever so slowly he pulls you in, and when it stops its a perfect end.
Sam
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
matt
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
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
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.

Devina  Boughton
Really interesting, different than any play I've ever read. I'd love to see it!
Nancy
More like a 2.5, but I can see why it was a Pulitzer.
Nathan
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
Lisa
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.
Danya
Mar 04, 2012 Danya rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who likes plays and is above age ten
Shelves: plays
I have no words. Absolutely fantastic. Really weird, and a bit difficult to keep track of at first, (I kept confusing A, B, and C), but in the end it was absolutely incredible. Highly recommended to absolutely everyone! Please read this incredible play. Another Albee masterpiece, and considerably less disturbing than The Goat, but just as good! I loved this, and I was tearing up at the end, which was really embarrassing because I was at dance rehearsal. Oh well.
Sara
It's an interesting juxtaposition of the three selves confronting one another and conversing. It will cause a lot of introspection, but don't read this if you're not feeling good about where you are in your own life. Particularly for women, I think this serves to peel back the layers and expose some raw truth of common experiences many of us go through, in a way that is a bit uncomfortable to read and to face.
Rahil Zabihi
Well, having experienced Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, I should say this was a little unexpected. The same frenzy was present in this work too, but in a more surreal way which I liked better. The dialogs however were boring most of the times. The theme of the whole play was great and impressive and the second act was much better than the first one.
Jack
A classic Edward Albee play, three women talk about everything as the two younger ones argue and help care for the older one who is becoming senile, imperious, frightened. It also reads as three voices of one woman at different times in her life now coming together to make sense of ...everything, as everything narrows down toward death.
Rhonda
Interesting short play called Three Tall Women. In the first act, there are 2 women attending a bedridden old woman. In the 2nd act, the three women are the same woman at different stages of life. I laughed and I ached for all three of the women, and the woman, the way they looked at their life, the regret, the denial, the conclusion.
Jessica
So-so. (I have to add that a professor of mine once claimed she'd had Edward Albee over for drinks at her house once, and he got totally smashed and hit on all the men there, or something like that. I'm not sure if that's true, or just an embellishment, but it's more interesting than anything I have to say about the play itself.)
Nicole
One of the best plays I've read in a long time. Albee knows just how to make us very aware of the human condition, makes us understand all of the anger, loneliness, funny moments, and lack of values. He understands that keeping up with appearances is only and ever really, simply for "ourselves."
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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
More about Edward Albee...
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? The American Dream & The Zoo Story The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? The Zoo Story and Other Plays A Delicate Balance

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