I don’t get to go to the theater as often as I would like, but I really love reading plays – they are not for everyone, but each time I read one I do picture the cast on stage and wonder how the staging and lighting would look as I read.
This play by Albee doesn’t really allow for that as much. It all takes place indoors, in the home of the Gray family, nee just the kitchen. The Grays seem perfect, simply too good to be true. Martin Gray, the family patriarch, has just won a prestigious award and is being interviewed for a television program spotlighting his career. His doting wife, Stevie, loves him as if they were newlyweds, and although they aren’t completely thrilled with their son’s sexuality, there appears to be a lot of harmony within the walls of this home.
As anyone who has read Albee’s most famous works knows, appearances can be deceiving, and just below the surface turmoil and anguish are just waiting to erupt and wreak havoc on all, including witnesses and bystanders. So, who is Sylvia? The title asks and so do we. Well, she is the wrench in this otherwise Rockwellian portrait, and boy is the answer a doozy (it would be cruel of me to spoil it). Issues, secrets, and choices come to a head, and dirty laundry is thrown about, culminating in an abrupt and shocking ending. One that may leave you stunned.
This play is as riveting as it is perturbing. All I can say is that I would have loved to be in the audience to see it unfold, as it is definitely powerful and such a character based study that casting and acting could only lend more gravitas to the work. If only I had been able to witness this in the theater…