Watching combative friends and relatives lob epigrams at one another has long been a favorite spectator sport at summer theaters. When you’re feeling overheated and limp-brained, there’s undeniable satisfaction in hearing awkwardness and animosity translated into graceful, gliding prose. But does anyone ever pause to think how trying it must be always to speak that way, or that such articulateness might be — gulp! — a hard-fought existential commitment?
Edward Albee, for one, does. This tirelessly eloquent playwright has created character after character who wages stylish verbal battles against the void, in dramas that add a haunting, rueful burn to cocktail-chatter crispness. When the mixture of pain and polish is just right, such talk stings and tickles like no other. So I’m urging you to take a trip to the Berkshire Theater Festival, where a select company of actors is flinging, sloshing, spilling and very much savoring Mr. Albee’s words in a first-class revival of “A Delicate Balance.”
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