Theatre Review: Three Tall Women at Lace Market Theatre

Words: Sharon R M Stevens
Tuesday 15 October 2019
reading time: min, words

First premiered in 1994 in New York, it's a play about three women at varying stages of life... 


One (elderly and dying) women approximately aged ninety, another aged approximately in her fifty’s (middle-aged) and another in her twenties. They’re all together in the elderly woman’s bedroom, waiting for her death.

The opening scene resonated with me and I guess with many others too, with an elderly parent who is ‘waiting to die.’ It felt quite sombre. Character A was sat in a chair looking unhappy with her head in her hand. I took a breath, and I heard others too, possibly a reminder for them of a lost loved one – that was until Character A started talking.

The play was a mixture of serious subject matters – instance romance, disappointments, race, sex, illness, death and life – all intertwined with comedy; it showcases the frailty of life and how quickly it can change. They were emotive subjects, but they were delivered in a way that was thought-provoking. Each character had their own experiences and shared them throughout too. However, Character A’s illness had a profound effect on Character B and C, which was reflected in the opening scene of Act Two.

I found it interesting that Character A, according to Edward Albee, was based on his "adoptive mother, whom I knew from my infancy until her death." The character appeared to be in pain physically and emotionally, along with having with dementia or Alzheimer's, therefore getting lost in her thoughts at times. The portrayal of Character A was believable and the way she moved across the stage (crying out in physical pain) resonated with me and reminded me of my mother.

I was impressed by the lengthy dialogue that was delivered without fault, except for one minor prompt, but then that’s the beauty of a first night. The theatre wasn’t as full as I had expected. However, those who had attended showed their appreciation at the end with hearty applause.

Lace Market Theatre website

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