(Hilton Als’s article appeared in The New Yorker, 12/1; via Pam Green.)

Blame it on Elizabeth Taylor. Her portrayal of Martha in Mike Nichols’s 1966 film adaptation of Edward Albee’s 1962 early masterpiece, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” won her a Best Actress Oscar and freeze-framed what would be considered the prototypical Albee wife—“I am the Earth Mother, and you are all flops.” It also made the movie, for many people, the definitive version of Albee’s view of heterosexual marriage as a savage and barbaric rite of passage. But, before “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” hit the screens, this unimpeachably original playwright had already produced another of what you might call his marriage plays, the long one-act “The American Dream” (1961). (Albee’s third play about marriage, “A Delicate Balance,” from 1966, is currently being staged at the John Golden.)


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