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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Games of Edward Albee Wallace, Robert Stanley 1970

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THE GAMES OF EDWARD ALBEE • 31 ROBERT. STANLEY WALLACE ' '• B.A., U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , 1966 A THESIS SUBMITTED I N PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS. FOR THE DEGREE OF . • M a s t e r o f A r t s , i n t h e Department . o f E n g l i s h ' We a c c e p t t h i s . , t h e s i s as c o n f o r m i n g t o t h e . r e q u i r e d s t a n d a r d THE UNIVERSITY OF HRITISH COLUMBIA A u g u s t , 1970 I n p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f t h e r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r a n a d v a n c e d d e g r e e a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I a g r e e t h a t t h e L i b r a r y s h a l l m a k e i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e a n d s t u d y . I f u r t h e r a g r e e t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d by t h e H e a d o f my D e p a r t m e n t o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s u n d e r s t o o d t h a t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l n o t be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . D e p a r t m e n t T h e U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a V a n c o u v e r 8, C a n a d a I. - 1 -ABSTRACT Edward Albee's concern with the illusions people use to escape the external facts of their lives has prompted the emphasis on games i n his plays. His use of such games, as well as the word "game" i t s e l f , presupposes an interest i n game-playing concepts which has become increasingly obvious over the past ten years. Such concepts emphasize both the necessity of illusions i n constructing and dealing with l i f e and the necessity for awareness of such illusions i f they are to be creatively managed. Albee extends these ideas i n his plays both through the characters* game-playing and the structure of the plays themselves. By drawing attention to the dramatic i l l u s i o n , Albee u t i l i z e s the play as a game and illustrates the significance that an awareness of i l l u s i o n can achieve. At the same time, he extends the characters' game-playing into the dramatic structure, demonstrating his tacit understanding of the relationship between form and content i n a work of art. Chapter One outlines the game-playing concepts that are the backbone of Albee's plays and discusses the ways by which Albee extends these concepts into the play-form i t s e l f . Basic to the audience's awareness of the dramatic i l l u s i o n i s i t s intermittent alienation from i t . Such alienation i s f a c i l i t a t e d by Albee's deliberate confusion of theatrical conventions which prevents the audience from relegating his plays to any definite dramatic tradition. - di -t Chapter Two examines four of Albee's one-act plays: The Sandbox, The American Dream, The Death of Bessie Smith, and The Zoo Story. In The Sandbox and The American Dream, the characters' game-playing receives i t s most exaggerated treatment: correspondingly, these plays represent Albee's most obvious use of the play as a game. In The Death of Bessie Smith, the manipulation of the theatrical experience i s not as important as the development of the Nurse as the f i r s t of Albee's neurotic females. The Nurse's i n a b i l i t y to use games to escape successfully from her frustration with l i f e provides the play with i t s dramatic centre and makes an important point about game-playing: awareness of games and i l l u s i o n must at times be overcome i f games are to provide real management of l i f e . This theme i s further developed i n The Zoo Story i n which Jerry's attack on Peter's illusions about l i f e serve to il l u s t r a t e his own i n a b i l i t y to communicate. In Chapter Three, the games George and Martha play with themselves and their guests i n Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? are analyzed as a means of comprehending more f u l l y Albee's prerequisites for individual and social survival. The criticism of the "American Scene" that Albee begins i n The Sandbox and The American Dream i s here more f u l l y developed, the family continuing as his basic metaphor for contemporary American society. The play represents Albee's most complex use of the play as a game, the set and dialogue providing a naturalistic f o i l for the "interruptive" techniques borrowed from other dramatic traditions. Finally, Chapter Four deals with A Delicate Balance, Albee's most recent - i i i ^ full-length, play, excluding h i s adaptations. Although game-playing i s not as marked i n t h i s play as i n the e a r l i e r ones, i t s t i l l i s central to the characters' i l l u s i o n s about family and friendship and to the play's o v e r a l l structure. Iforeover, the "balance" that Agnes maintains between awareness of her i l l u s i o n s and abandonment to them suggests a resolution to the problems surrounding game-playing that Albee probes i n his e a r l i e r work. Such a resolution demands an awareness of i l l u s i o n and a management of games so that they may best serve the game-player. TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter Page I.. THE PLAT AS GAME ............... 1 II. GAMES IN ONE ACT >............ 18 III.. THE GAMES OF GEORGE AND MARTHA ... 60 IV. DELICATE GAMES ........................ 122 V. CONCLUSION 160. • 'in. • BIBLIOGRAPHY.............. '.,........ ................ 16.3 ACENOWLEDGEMENT I would l i k e to acknowledge the encouragement, assistance and patience. I have received from Dr. John Hulcoop i n the. formulation and completion of t h i s t h e s i s . CHAPTER ONE THE PLAT AS GAME. "L i f e must be l i v e d as play, playing certain games, making s a c r i f i c e s , sing-ing and dancing, and then a man w i l l be able to propitiate the Gods....'1 • — Plato Near the end of Act Two of Edward Albee's Tiny A l i c e , J u l i a n asks Miss A l i c e "Surely, Miss A l i c e , you haven't been playing games with...so monumental a matter?""'" He i s r e f e r r i n g to the. transaction: between. Miss A l i c e and the Roman Catholic, church i n which she has agreed to donate to the. church one hundred m i l l i o n each year f o r the next twenty years. Julian's role in'the transaction.is changing from emissary to sacrifice,.although t h i s f a c t i s not"necessarily understood by him at the time. Miss A l i c e r e p l i e s to his question with a statement which serves as an excellent prologue to Albee's plays i n general. She says: '. ...Games? Oh, ho, m y . l i t t l e J u l i a n , • ' there are no games played ...here; t h i s i s -f o r keeps, and i n dead earnest. .There are c r u e l t i e s , f o r the i n s u l a t i o n breeds, a strange kind of voyeurism; and there i s impatience, too, over the need to accomplish .what should not be explained; and, at the end of i t , a madness of sorts.,.but a triumph. '•• • . .. • • (p.120) -Edward Albee, Tiny A l i c e . (New York:.'Pocket Books Inc., 196l) ,.p,120. A l l subsequent references are to the same edition . ' - 2 -JuHan's reference to games and Miss A l i c e ' s d e n i a l of them i s only one example of the many d i r e c t references to games and game-playing i n Albee's plays. Towards the close of A De l i c a t e Balance, Tobias says to Agnes "You, who make a l l the decisions, r e a l l y r u l e the game...." She r e p l i e s , "That i s an i l l u s i o n you have." George and Martha, in:Who's A f r a i d of V i r g i n i a Woolf?, are so involved with game-playing that Albee t i t l e s the f i r s t act of t h e i r play "Fun and Games.." Indeed, the games of George and Martha even have names: i n answer to h i s own question "Well, what'11 we play now? We gotta play a game," George says "I've got i t I I ' l l t e l l you what game we' l l play. We're done with Humiliate the Hosty...this round, anyway...we're done with that...and we don't want to play Hump the Hostess, yet...not yet...So I know what w e ' l l play...We'll play a round of Get the Guests. How about that? How about a l i t t l e game of Get the Guests?"- 3 Because he gives such a pronounced emphasis to games i n his plays, i t perhaps seems curious that Albee's Miss A l i c e should deny t h e i r existence. What i s noteworthy i s the way i n which Miss A l i c e denies games. She says, "This i s f o r keeps, and i n dead earnest." The games played by Albee's characters cease to be mere exercises of fun and the 2Edward Albee, A Delic a t e Balance (New York: Pocket Books, Inc., 1967), P. 1-40. A l l subsequent references are to the same e d i t i o n . ^Edward Albee, Who's A f r a i d of V i r g i n i a Woolf? (New York: Pocket Books, 1963), p. l^O. A l l subsequent references are to the same e d i t i o n . -3-opposite of serious endeavor. Rather, they become personal contests and vendettas that usually have serious and broad implications as well as meaningful and dramatic r e s u l t s . As Miss A l i c e says, ""There are c r u e l t i e s , " suggesting that i n many instances "cruelty" and "game" are r e l a t e d j even synonomous, terms. The c r u e l t i e s are "dead earnest" f o r , often as not, they are used to pry open the individual's defenses i n order to reach the facts of his existence. Exposing these f a c t s , the games usually become pa i n f u l to the characters involved, exorcising the i l l u s i o n s they have developed to support t h e i r existences. At the same time, the games can be entertaining,, p a r t i c u l a r l y f o r those only p e r i -pherally concerned: Nick and Honey i n Mho's Afraid of V i r g i n i a Woolf? enjoy George and Martha's cruel games u n t i l they are forced to play them too. When t h i s occurs, the guests cease to be mere "voyeurs" to the c r u e l t i e s and become active participants i n the games. The pain involved with t h i s p a r t i c i p a t i o n results b a s i c a l l y from the characters' confron-t a t i o n with t h e i r own i l l u s i o n s . Agnes' answer to Tobias — "That i s an i l l u s i o n you have" (p. 141) — could e a s i l y be applied to Martha about her son or to J u l i a n about his relationship to God. In a l l cases such a confrontation produces a "madness of sorts" i n which the i l l u s i o n i s exorcised. This exorcism Albee f e e l s i s ultimately positive f o r i t allows the i n d i v i d u a l to understand the r e a l i t i e s of his own s i t u a t i o n . With such understanding, the i n d i v i d u a l can hopefully e s t a b l i s h a workable relationship 1 with r e a l i t y — the "triumph"which Albee f e e l s i s essential for the preservation of sanity and society. -4-Albee's concern with the games people play as well as his repeated use of the words •"game" and " i l l u s i o n " presupposes an understanding of game-playing concepts that :has; become increasingly prevalent over the past ten years. Indeed, Albee's plays can be termed creative or "working" examples of the game-theory that has been popularized i n books such as Roger GaiLlois1 Man, Play and Games and Eric Berne's Games People Play. Basic to game-theory i s the fact that "most people...in their family and business relationships, are constantly playing games with each other."^ These games may be consciously or unconsciously played, depending upon the awareness of the 5 players. Basic to the games i s the "emotional payoff" for which the players vie, a "stroke" i n Berne terminology that supports one player's ego often at the expense of another's. The rules that govern these social games are often quite complex and open to change at the players' whim. Discussing games and their rules, R.D. Laing writes i n The Po l i t i c s  of Experience: ...people have a repertoire of games based on particular sets of learned interactions. Others may play games that mesh sufficiently to allow a variety of more or less stereotyped dramas to be enacted. The games have rules, some public, some secret. Some people play games that break the rules of games others play. Some play ^Eric Berne, Games People Play 1964), inside cover notes. 5 Berne, l o c . c i t . (New York: Grove Press, Inc., - 5 --- .. undeclared games, so rendering t h e i r , , ,•' " 'moves ambiguous or downright u n i n t e l - '• '.'/•. l i g i b l e , except'to the expert i n such .' secret and unusual games. 6 Generally, s o c i a l games are marked by the u l t e r i o r aims t h a t ' l i e behind the players' moves'. Berne writes "super-f i c i a l l y . ..a game looks l i k e a set of operations, but after the payoff i t becomes apparent that these 'operations' were r e a l l y maneuvers, not.honest requests but moves i n the game."''' Thus, the :., so c i a l game i s often more serious than the word "game" implies, fun or even enjoyment being minimal as the players move to defend and . support. t h e i r ego s * The relationship between i l l u s i o n and game can'also.be under-stood by considering the u l t e r i o r aims of the players. B a s i c a l l y , s o c i a l games are games 'of make-believe; the "payoff" for which the . players v i e i s often r a d i c a l l y d i f f e r e n t from the "payoff"' they pretend to seek. . In some cases the game-player may not be aware of h i s . r e a l motives nor of the game, i n which he. i s unconsciously involved; for him the game and the "payoff" go unrecognized as he-suffers, the i l l u s i o n of l i v i n g r e a l l i f e : the game becomes a substitute f o r "the r e a l l i v i n g of r e a l intimacy." Such i n d i v i d u a l s , personified by .' 6R.D. Laing, The P o l i t i c s of Experience and The Bird of Paradise. (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1967), p.43. -^Berne, p.4-8. % e r n e , p.18. -6-Peter i n The Zoo Story• are i n danger of being dominated by their illusions and are vulnerable to those who are aware of games and the necessary progression of moves. On the other hand, individuals aware of the games and illusions prevalent i n American society are ' i n danger of suffering an acute alienation that inhibits their a b i l i t y to communicate and lover, this, of course, i s Jerry's predicament i n The Zoo Story. Ultimately, a compromise i s necessary: games and illusions are usually necessary for survival but an under-standing of them as well as the re a l i t y which prompts them i s pre-requisite to their development. As Berne says: " . . . i n order to get away from the ennui of pastimes without exposing themselves to the dangers of intimacy, most people compromise for games."^ Such a compromise allows the aware individual to accept the relative truth that illusions can achieve, and to recognize games as a meaningful form of social interaction. Albee's concern with the' games people play naturally has i t s effect upon the structure of his plays,;. His purpose i n writing i s to liberate contemporary American man from those illusions which he feels are harmful to American society. Integral to this liberation i s an awareness of the games people play to support their i l l u s i o n s . In a preface to The American Dream, Albee writes: Berne, p. 171. -7-Tiie play i s an examination of the Ameri-can Scene, an attack on the substitution of a r t i f i c i a l f o r r e a l values i n our society, a condemnation of complacency, cruelty, emasculation and vacuity;, i t i s a stand against the f i c t i o n that every-thing i n t h i s slipping land of ours i s peachy-keen. 10 Using his plays to mirror society, Albee makes h i s characters representatives of the current American Scene, dominated by i l l u s i o n s which c o l l e c t i v e l y constitute the " f i c t i o n " of prosperity and progress that he f e e l s i s so destructive to American development. As each of his plays progresses, the games his character play to support t h e i r i l l u s i o n s unfold before the theatre audience. As the games become increasingly more serious, developing, f o r example, from "fun" to "exorcism" i n Who's Afr a i d of V i r g i n i a Moolf?, the characters are forced to face t h e i r i l l u s i o n s and to a ccept the significance (or insignificance) of th e i r games. What i s unique i n t h i s process i s that Albee l e t s h i s characters play games i n order to destroy games, makes them use i l l u s i o n to confront r e a l i t y . The emphasis upon f i c t i o n i n Albee's plays i s marked by the words "story," "dream," and " V i r g i n i a Woolf1" i n three of th e i r t i t l e s , as w e l l as by the many stories or f i c t i o n s which his characters r e l a t e . Such an emphasis suggests the o v e r a l l importance that Albee gives to i l l u s i o n i n his attack on the Edward Albee, The American Dream and The Zoo Story (New Tork: Signet Books, no date), p . 5 4 . A l l subsequent references are to the same edi t i o n . -8-* American.Scene. Ill u s i o n can be used to undermine i l l u s i o n , game used to destroy game. This fact becomes important i n considering the dramatic effect of Albee's plays. Generally, Albee u t i l i z e s the play form i t s e l f as a game, different from social games i n i t s obviously structured or "scripted" nature but similar i n i t s reliance upon i l l u s i o n . I t perhaps seems paradoxical that Albee should create an i l l u s i o n . i n order to attack the illusions which he feels are hindering American • society. The paradox i s resolved when one remembers that a l l artists v confront their audience with an i l l u s i o n of r e a l i t y that shatters some of the audience's real i l l u s i o n s . In the case of dramatic i l l u s i o n , the audience i s often asked to suspend i t s disbelief for the course of production i n order to learn and be entertained. In the case of Albee's plays, however, the dramatic i l l u s i o n i s not meant to be tot a l l y involving nor i s i t intended to be accepted as "realV.'--, As Thomas B. Markus states i n an essay on Tiny Alice;. "Rather than supposing we w i l l suspend our disbelief, Albee banks on our willing retention of disbelief .""'"'* The i l l u s i o n that the actors create on the stage i s never developed to the degree that the audience involves i t s e l f completely and thus loses sight of the basic irony of i t s position i n the theatre: the situation on the stage i s only make-believe, a game of "Tiny Alice and Tragic Catharsis," ETJ, SS1I (1965), p.232. -9-pretense that the actors play with the audience. This f a c t i s d e l iberately emphasized i n the structure of Albee 1s plays.by a number of techniques that can best be summarized as a mixing of t h e a t r i c a l conventions. Such a mixing develops a play whose effect i s b a s i c a l l y "presentational."-^ As Markus notes, Albee 1s plays never attempt to create an i l l u s i o n that w i l l involve us i n the actions of the characters, for he always knows that we are looking at a f i c t i o n , a performance, an a r t i f i c e . 13 Although Albee has not used the word i n r e l a t i o n to his plays, i t i s not d i f f i c u l t to imagine him c a l l i n g them games. He seems to be approaching t h i s idea when, i n an interview with Theatre Arts magazine, he states: I t seems to me that so long as you don't l e t the audience c a l l the shots i n any play, then you're a l l r i g h t . Because an audience i s very, very quick. I f you l i s t e n to the f i r s t f i v e minutes of the play, and watch the audience and l i s t e n to i t , you just t e l l by the way they're s i t t i n g , or the q u a l i t y of t h e i r silence or response, what l e v e l they are taking the play on — how much of a commit-ment they're w i l l i n g to make. The audience loves to c a l l the shots.... 14--^Markus, p. 227. 13lbid. 14-ttAibee and Schneider Observe," Theatre A r t s , no. 45 (March, 196l), p.79. - 10 -Because Albee's purpose i s to prevent the audience from , r c a l l i n g the shots," i s , i n f a c t , to undermine the r u l e s by which i t l i v e s and views i t s existence, he i s acutely conscious of the e f f e c t on his audience of the i l l u s i o n or a r t i f i c e he i s creating. His mixing of t h e a t r i c a l conventions which, on the most obvious l e v e l , prevents the audience from r e l e g a t i n g h i s plays to any one t r a d i t i o n such as Naturalism or Expressionism, i s often termed confusing, self-conscious or even inept by the critics."'"-' The error here l i e s i n the c r i t i c s ' f a i l u r e to r e a l i z e the purpose behind Albee's plays and to accept the confusing of t h e a t r i c a l conventions as a purposeful technique of the playwright which d e l i b e r a t e l y c a l l s a t t e n t i o n to the dramatic i l l u s i o n . Martha, i n the t h i r d act of Who's A f r a i d of V i r g i n i a Woolf?, says of George that he "keeps learning the games we play as quickly as I can change the rules"' (p.191). This i s exactly what Albee requires of h i s audience as w e l l . As the dramatist, he plays. Martha's part; the audience, l i k e George, i s expected to l e a r n the r u l e s of the author's games as quickly as he changes them. Albee alone " c a l l s the shots" and the audience must work to e s t a b l i s h and r e e s t a b l i s h the r u l e s of h i s dramatic game a s he co n t i n u a l l y modifies them. For t h i s reason Albee d e l i b e r a t e l y avoids i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of prota-gonists as hero and v i l l a i n ; characters cease to be "good" or w b a d m as For example, see Tom F. Dri v e r , "What's the matter with Edward Albee^" i n The Modern American Theatre, ed. A l v i n B. Kernan (Englewood C l i f f s , 1967), pp. 99-103. - 1 1 -they present a complex of motives and t r a i t s which a l t e r n a t e l y appeal to and r e p e l the audience. Discussing t h i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of Albee's plays, Gerald Nelson writes: Albee r e a l i z e s that dramatic excitement on the stage l i e s i n the r e l a t i o n s h i p of a pl a y to a game, c o n f l i c t comes from knowing that there has to be a l o s e r , and much of the audience's t h r i l l comes from t r y i n g to pick (emotionally, not i n t e l l e c t -ually) the winner. 16 Even a f t e r the conclusion of most of Albee's plays the "winner" and " l o s e r " can be debated. I n The Zoo Story Jerry's "win" over Peter — his shattering of Peter's i l l u s i o n s about himself and h i s place i n society — i s only accomplished by h i s death. I n Who's A f r a i d of  V i r g i n i a Woolf?. George's "win" over Martha — his " k i l l i n g " of t h e i r "son" ==• has perhaps ruined t h e i r marriage. I n A D e l i c a t e Balance, Agnes' "win" over Tobias — her f o r c i n g h i s f i n a l d e c i s i o n regarding t h e i r f r i e n d s — perhaps leaves them f r i e n d l e s s , and prey to the "plague* which attacked Edna and Harry. Confused by i t s i n a b i l i t y to delineate c l e a r l y "winner" and " l o s e r , " the audience i s forced to examine the s i t u a t i o n of the pla y i n regard to i t s own values. The characters' motives become as complex as the i r o n i e s inherent i n t h e i r game% sug-gesting the moral confusion which Albee f e e l s i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of Twentieth Century l i f e . S i m i l a r l y , the confusion of sexual r o l e s i n ^"Edward Albee and his.well-made p l a y s , " T r i - q u a r t e r l y , no.5 (1966), p.185. -12-most of Albee's plays r e f l e c t s the emasculation and "Momism" that • Alheaiflndssopredominant i n America: it'necessitates the audience's examination of the place, of men and women within American society. Any expectation of a battle between the sexes, i n the t r a d i t i o n a l sense i s frustrated i n an Albee play: men f i g h t , i f at a l l , not to regain the i r masculinity but to destroy that of women. The roles of men and women within the family unit are questioned as i l l u s i o n s involving family s o l i d a r i t y and communications are debased. Such i l l u s i o n s , fostered f o r so. many years by the "family" play on the American stage, become undermined by the theatre experience which frustrates the audience's expectations and draws attention to i t s e l f : the family of American society i s as i l l u s o r y as the family o f the American stage. •• . • The-'deliberate confusion of t h e a t r i c a l conventions i n Albee's plays which constitutes his use of the play as game w i l l be s p e c i f i c a l l y d i s -cussed i n r e l a t i o n to- his i n d i v i d u a l plays i n the following chapters of th i s t h e s i s . By way of introduction, i t i s s u f f i c i e n t to say that the central effect of the play-as-game technique i s the creation of aesthetic distance between the audience and the stage i l l u s i o n . • This effect i s , of course-, similar to the alienation or "A-effect" which i s associated with the "Epic" theatre of Bertolt Brecht. Writing about t h i s e f f e c t , Brecht says, "the object...is to allow the spectator to c r i t i c i z e -13-17 constructively from a s o c i a l point of view." Although. Albee i s d e f i n i t e l y not writing Epic theatre, h i s concern i n emphasizing the experience of stage drama matches Brecht's and, consequently, he draws on some of the same techniques as Brecht. Albee has said: " I • think the. theatre i s also an arena of engagement, of argument, of p a r t i c i p a t i o n , of putting the audience more into i t s e l f rather than 18 taking i t out of i t s e l f . " For Albee, "putting the audience Into I t s e l f 1 ' demands that the audience consider the stage i l l u s i o n i n r e l a t i o n to the current American Scene. Such consideration i n turn demands a distance from the t h e a t r i c a l i l l u s i o n that w i l l allow i n t e l l e c t u a l consideration of the characters and events as w e l l as • empathy -with them. Certainly some b e l i e f i n the stage i l l u s i o n i s necessary, i f only that i t may be underminedj f o r t h i s reason, Albee 1s f u l l - l e n g t h plays are given n a t u r a l i s t i c sets and b a s i c a l l y n a t u r a l i s t i c dialogue. Yet, at the same time, i n order to undermine the stage i l l u s i o n and thus extend h i s theme of the necessity of illusion-awareness,' Albee incorporates into h i s plays techniques from other t r a d i t i o n s such as the music-hall and Epic theatre. The re s u l t i n g "confusion" teaches as w e l l as entertains, the two-fold purpose which Albee has acknowledged 19 as h i s own. In an interview published i n The American Theatre 1 7 B e r t o l , t Brecht, "Street Scene,'^ i n The Theory of the Modern Stage. ~ ed".*"Eric Bently (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books> 1968), p. 91. -id • •-"An Interview with Edward Albee^'in The American Theatre Todays ed. Alan S. Downer (New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1967), p. 119. "^"I've always thought that i t was one of the r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s of play-wrights to show people how they are and what t h e i r time i s l i k e i n the hope that perhaps t h e y ' l l change i t . " Edward Albee, "John Gielgud and Edward Albee Talk About the Theatre," A t l a n t i c . 215 ( A p r i l , 1965), p.65. - 1 4 -Today. Albee summarizes bis position towards the effect of his plays. He sayss You can teach at the. same time as you are engaging. I think perhaps the entire theory of alienation is a l i t t l e misunderstood by the majority of the people who use the term. Of course, i t is not an attempt to alienate the audience but merely an attempt to keep the audience at a sufficient distance so that two things are happening simultaneously, that the audience is being objective about the experience i t i s having.20 This, succintly, is the reason for Albee's use of the play as a game. The idea of the play as a game is not particularly new nor is the idea that both the play and the game mirror the society of which they are products. Marshall McLuhan, in Understanding Media, writes: Games are dramatic models of our psycho-logical lives providing release of par-ticular tensions. They are collective and popular art forms with strict con-ventions. 21 He makes the relationship between, games and plays more specific when he asks: "...does not .Aristotle's idea of drama as a mimetic reenactment and relief from our besetting pressures apply perfectly to a l l kinds of games "An Interview with Edward Albee," p. 119. 'Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media (Toronto: Signet Books, 1964), p. 209. and dance and fun?" Johan Huizinga, i n Homo Ludens, includes both plays and games i n the broader category which he simply c a l l s "play: ." His d e f i n i t i o n of "play" applies to both games and plays as they are thought of today. He writes: ...play i s a voluntary a c t i v i t y or oc-cupation executed within certain f i x e d l i m i t s of time and place, according to rules f r e e l y accepted but absolutely binding, having i t s aim i n i t s e l f and accompanied by a fe e l i n g of tension, joy and the consciousness that i t i s "d i f f e r e n t " from "ordinary l i f e . " 2 3 He also suggests that such play need not necessarily be simply "fun." He says: ...genuine and spontaneous play can also be profoundly serious. The player can abandon himself body and soul to the game, and the consciousness of i t s being "merely" a game can be thrust into the background. 24 Although the games played by Albee 1s characters are private within the context of his plays, within the larger context of the theatre they are c o l l e c t i v e experiences f o r both the audience and the actors. Moreover, because, the theatre experience i s b a s i c a l l y pretense, i t can be termed - 25 a substitution f o r "the rea l u l i v i n g of r e a l intimacy"'; - ; so can the game s 2 2McLuhan, p. 210. ^Johan Huizinga, Homo Ludens (Boston: Beacon Press, 1955), pp.20-21. 2 ^ I b i d . 25Berne, p. 18. -16-i t contains. For this collective experience to be both enter-'•^IPJ^^ the audience, a compromise between "consciousness11 of the experience and abandonment to i t must be achieved. Such a compromise mirrors the.compromise that Albee feels i t necessary to make between i l l u s i o n and reality i n real l i f e : consciousness of games must at times be abandoned i f l i f e i s to remain bearable. The confusion of i l l u s i o n and r e a l i t y i n l i f e as well as the relative truth that illusions can achieve are two of Albee's major themes. That his manipulation of the theatre_experience' should extend these themes shows his ta c i t understanding of the relationship between form and content i n a work of art. In an Albee play, form and content are fused so that the games played within the play are magnified by the play i t s e l f . The use of the play as a game achieves contemporary relevance i n so far as "game" has new meaning i n American society today. Lionel Abelhas written: "A play i s essentially a game but a game played with something sacred." What Albee appears to see as most sacred i s man's truthful acceptance of r e a l i t y . He i s reported to have said after a performance of Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh "that i n the long run i t was best for people to try to live with 27 the truth." Such a truth does not deny the place of illusions and games within society. Rather, i t demands an awareness of illusion.and 2 6 L i o n e l Abel, Metatheatre (New York: H i l l and Wang, 1963), p.127. 27(§uoted i n Lee Baxandall, "The Theatre of Edward Albee,"''in The Modern  American Theatre, ed. Alvin B. Eernan (Englewood C l i f f s , ) p. 92. -17-a management of games so that they may best serve the'gameplayer. I t also acknowledges the p o s s i b i l i t y that r e a l i t y i s as much of an i l l u s i o n as i l l u s i o n , and that l i f e i s as much of a game as a stage-play. CHAPTER TWO GAMES IN ONE ACT ( "The possible seriousness of games and play, and the p o s s i b l y serious r e s u l t s , are w e l l known to anthropologists.... the grimmest of a l l , of course, i s 'War'." — E r i c Berne Edward Albee's u t i l i z a t i o n of the play as a game characterizes a l l h i s dramas though to varying degrees and with various m o d i f i -cations. Always, however, i t has as i t s purpose the exorcising of those i l l u s i o n s which Albee f e e l s are s t i f l i n g contemporary American society. The Sandbox, though a minor play, i s a good entrance i n t o a discussion of these i l l u s i o n s f o r , besides I l l u s t r a t i n g some of the dramatic techniques Albee uses more subtlcy i n l a t e r plays, i t also contains some of h i s major themes. Although i t i s Albee's t h i r d play, written i n 1959> The Sandbox deals with the fa m i l y u n i t (Albee's metaphor f o r contemporary American society) i n a more d e f i n i t e and obvious way than h i s two e a r l i e r plays, The Zoo Story (1958) and The Death of Bessie  Smith (1959). I n a d d i t i o n , i t sets up the sexual p o l a r i t y that dominates a l l of Albee's plays up to A Delicate Balance, a p o l a r i t y i n which "Mommy has assumed "Daddy's" r o l e as leader of the family. The dramatic e f f e c t of the play as a game i s also the most pronounced i n t h i s play, emphas-i z i n g the game-playing of the characters so as to assert the vacuity and s t e r i l i t y of t h e i r l i v e s . -19-Albee's use of the play as a game becomes immediately obvious i n The Sandbox, the play's set making no attempt to disguise the stage upon which i t occurs. Only three simple chairs, a music stand and a sandbox with a toy p a i l and shovel are used to create the i l l u s i o n of. a beach. The audience, continually reminded that i t i s watching "merely" a play by the avoidance of a r e a l i s t i c set, i s also reminded of the i l l u s i o n by the characters themselves. Mommy defines • the locale upon entering, saying "Well, here we arej this i s the beach. She then elaborates the setting for both the audience and her fellow characters, motioning to the sand and "the water beyond" (p.9). More importantly, she proceeds to develop the play much as a director would, shouting for the Musician to enter and even giving him his cues. Early i n the play she says to the Musician, "You can begin now" (p.10); later she says,. 11 You.. .uh.. .you go ahead and do whatever i t i s you do" (p. 13). When an "off-stage rumble" (p.l6) occurs and Daddy asks "what was that," Mommy replies "It was an off-stage rumble..." (p.17), reminding the audience•of the technicians involved with the i l l u s i o n as well as the actors. Similarly, Grandma refers to the mechanics of the play and thus emphasizes i t as i l l u s i o n . Just before the "rumble" she "shouts to someone ' off-stage" (p.16) "Shouldn't i t be getting dark now, dear?" Immediately ^Edward Albee, The Sandbox and The Death of Bessie Smith (Toronto: Signet Books, 1963), p. 9. A l l subsequent references are to the same edition. -20-the l i g h t s dim and "night comes on" (p.l6). Later she y e l l s , "Don't put the l i g h t s up yet...I'm not ready; I'm not quite ready" (p.18). The effect of these techniques i s the distancing of the audience from the play which Albee fe e l s i s necessary f o r the communication of his ideas. The emphasis upon the stage i l l u s i o n develops the play as a game which r e f l e c t s the games the characters play. Just as the play i s pretense, so are the emotions the char-acters a f f e c t . One i l l u s i o n undermines another; game destroys game. This f a c t i s more c l e a r l y understood when one considers the "game" i n which the characters are involved. Mommy and Daddy have come to bury Grandma i n a sandbox at the beach. The f a c t that Grandma i s not yet dead bothers no one when she i s dumped ( p . l l ) i n t o the sandbox and l e f t to die. Ostensibly, Mommy grieves over Grandma's death — " . i . t h e time has come for poor Grandma...and I can't bear i t 3 " (p.17); but as Grandma says to her mockingly, " y o u ' l l get over i t " (p.17). Just as l i t t l e children play games i n a sandbox, Albee's characters play games "at the beach",^ ,' pretending to f e e l what they r e a l l y do not. The death and b u r i a l with which they are involved i s r e a l l y an insincere game marked by the "empty a f f e c t i o n , " " p r e - s e n i l i t y , " and "vacuity" which Albee detests. That the r i t u a l i s no more than t h i s i s emphasized by the.characters' acknowledgment of the theatre game i t s e l f . Irony builds upon irony, reaching i t s climax when Grandma "plays dead" (p.18). (Albee 'Edward Albee, "Note," The Sandbox, p.8. - 2 1 -f o l l o w s t h i s s t a g e d i r e c t i o n w i t h a n e x c l a m a t i o n m a r k ) . Mommy s t a n d s o v e r G r a n d m a ' s b o d y , s h a k i n g h e r h e a d ; h e r s p e e c h c o u p l e s h e r s p u r i o u s s o r r o w o v e r G r a n d m a ' s d e a t h w i t h h e r r o l e a s - " d i r e c t o r " o f t h e p l a y , c o m p l e t i n g i t w i t h a r e f e r e n c e t o t h e b e a c h i l l u s i o n t h a t n o b o d y h a s r e a l l y a c c e p t e d : L o v e l y ! I t ' s . . . i t ' s h a r d t o b e s a d . . . s h e l o o k s . . . s o h a p p y . ( W i t h p r i d e a n d  c o n v i c t i o n ) I t ." .pays t o d o t h i n g s w e l l . ( T o t h e M u s i c i a n ) A l l r i g h t , y o u c a n s t o p n o w , i f y o u w a n t t o . I m e a n , d a y a r o u n d f o r a s w i m , o r s o m e t h i n g ; i t ' s a l l r i g h t w i t h u s . ( S h e s i g h s h e a v i l y ) W e l l D a d d y . . . o f f we g o . ( p p . 1 8 - 1 9 ) G r a n d m a ' s d e a t h h a s m e a n t l i t t l e o r n o t h i n g t o M o m m y , a s h a s h e r l i f e . H e r f u n e r a l h a s b e e n m e r e l y a game p l a y e d w i t h a r t i f i c i a l e m o t i o n s . T h a t G r a n d m a h a s b e e n t r e a t e d l i t t l e b e t t e r t h a n a d o g d u r i n g h e r l i f e w i t h . M o m m y i s a c k n o w l e d g e d e a r l i e r i n t h e p l a y w h e n G r a n d m a s a y s : " . . . a n d t h e y m o v e d me i n t o a b i g t o w n h o u s e w i t h t h e m . . . . f i x e d a n i c e p l a c e f o r m e u n d e r t h e s t o v e . . . g a v e me a n a r m y b l a n k e t . . . a n d m y o w n d i s h . . . m y v e r y o w n d i s h l " ( p . l 6 ) T h i s f a c t , t h o u g h n o t u n i m p o r t a n t i n i t s e l f , b e c o m e s m o r e i m p o r t a n t i n r e l a t i o n t o t h e f a m i l y a s a w h o l e . J u s t a s M o m m y ' s r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h G r a n d m a d i f f e r s r a d i c a l l y f r o m t h e p a r e n t - d a u g h t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p u s u a l l y p r e s e n t e d i n t r a d i t i o n a l " f a m i l y p l a y s y " M o m m y ' s r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h D a d d y d i f f e r s r a d i c a l l y a s w e l l . M o m m y ' s o b v i o u s d i r e c t i o n o f t h e o t h e r c h a r a c t e r s d o e s moE t h a n a l i e n a t e t h e a u d i e n c e j i t a c c e n t u a t e s h e r r o l e a s l e a d e r a n d o r g a n i z e r i n t h e - 2 2 -family u n i t . When Mommy and Daddy carry on Grandma early i n the .play,. Daddy asks-, "Where do ye put her?" ( p . l l ) Mommy answers "Wherever I say, of course" and immediately establishes her domi-nation over Daddy. Such female-male domination occurs i n a l l Albee's . plays, - although George i n Who1s Af r a i d of V i r g i n i a Woolf? manages to overcome and assume control of Martha . American women, Albee " suggests, have usurped man's role i n the family'unit. Any suggestion to the. contrary, l i k e any suggestion of parental respect, i s mere i l l u s i o n . The family as i t i s t r a d i t i o n a l l y presented, now ex i s t s , i f at a l l , as a minority u n i t . This idea Albee again presents i n The American Dream, a longer play which has the same major characters. Although the two plays.are thematically s i m i l a r , there i s a si g n i f i c a n t s t y l i s t i c difference between them. Whereas The Sandbox i s presented as obvious i l l u s i o n , The American . Dream i s presented, more r e a l i s t i c a l l y , , using some of the techniques associated with N a t u r a l i s t i c theatre. However, Albee s t i l l uses the play as a game i n order to emphasize game-playing i n general and to. undermine i l l u s i o n s p a r t i c u l a r to the American Scene. •In The American Dream Albee's use of the play as-a game i s developed by the fusing of t h e a t r i c a l conventions that characterizes his l a t e r f u l l - l e n g t h plays. .Along-with a r e a l i s t i c set and i n i t i a l l y r e a l i s t i c - , dialogue, Albee combines techniques which have become associated -23-with Theatre of the Absurd, a term coined by Martin E s s l i n to describe theatre i n which an open abandonment of r a t i o n a l thought and dialogue i s used to present man's a r b i t r a r y or meaningless p o s i t i o n i n a universe devoid of moral order. Basic to these techniques i s a magnification of character t r a i t s and actions which has long been associated with s a t i r e . In The Sandbox and The American  Dream t h i s magnification lis mainly seen i n the over-and under-reactions of the characters to the s i t u a t i o n s i n which they are involved. Such re a c t i o n s , "absurd" i n that t h e i r "unnaturalness" emphasizes the i r r a t i o n a l nature of existence and the la c k of communication between people, prevent the characters from ^scorning more than1 exaggerations or caricatures f o r the audience. Indeed, one c r i t i c has gone so f a r as to c a l l the characters "abstractions i n h a b i t i n g an unreal world."^ As such, the characters never demand a suspension of the audience* s d i s b e l i e f j N; rather, they emphasize the f a c t that the </piay i s d i f f e r e n t from ordinary l i f e , a game that exaggerates l i f e so as to comment upon i t . Although such exaggeration Is basic to the theatre, i t i s u s u a l l y employed to construct a r e a l i s t i c i l l u s i o n of l i f e and consequently i s l i m i t e d to what i s conventionally accepted as " n a t u r a l j " when the exaggeration passes t h i s point, i t i s considered unreal and i s u s u a l l y termed ^See Martin E s s l i n , The Theatre of the Absurd (Harmondsworth! Penguin Books, 1968). Siendall V. Ha r r i s , "Morality, Absurdity, and Albee," Southwest Review. Mo. 4-9 (1964-), p. 251. - 2 4 -'Ifantastic" or -"grotesque^ This i s not to say that sucji exaggerated i l l u s i o n carinatfc have r e a l impact. • Often, as i n the case of much good s a t i r e , the i l l u s i o n achieves i t s effect because of i t s . grotesque -quality, emphasizing through exaggeration and d i s t o r t i o n the f o l l i e s and vices which usually are i t s focus. Such i s the case i n both The Sandbox and The American Dream i n which i l l u s i o n s about American family l i f e ' a n d progress are attacked. I n The American Dream, the exaggerated nature of the play i s not .as obvious as i t i s i n The Sandbox. The set i s an ordinary middle-class American living-room. Mommy and Daddy s i t i n . armchairs,, involved i n a discussion seemingly about the landlord. As the play progresses, however, and the dialogue becomes more i r r a t i o n a l , i t becomes obvious that the characters are the same exaggerations as those i n The Sandbox. Mommy i s the emotionally s t e r i l e , nagging wife, the ruthless matriarch who has usurped Daddy's pos i t i o n as leader of the family unit and relegated him to the p o s i t i o n of an impotent "yes-man." Daddy no longer disputes Mommy's power or even.asserts his masculinity, i . e . , "bumps" his. "uglies"*; indeed, whether he i s even employed i s uncertain. He spends most of his time acting as Mommy's "straight man" i n the games they play, dreaming w i s t f u l l y of becoming a senator or' winning a F u l l b r i g h t Scholarship. Grandma also emerges as the same ^Edward Albee, The American Dream and The Zoo Story (New York: Signet Books,, no date), p . 6 7 . A l l subsequent references'are to the same edit i o n . ' -25-character she was i n The Sandbox, a remnant of the pioneer stock that founded America and must now suf f e r the c r u e l t i e s of i t s o f f s p r i n g . I n The American Dream, however, Grandma, l i k e the other characters, i s developed i n much more d e t a i l than i n The Sandbox, becoming more than an "abst r a c t i o n " or symbol of the dreams and tr a d i t i o n s that Mommy and Daddy are burying. As Lee Baxandall says of Grandma: she i s "the sole humane, generous creature i n the Albee menage. She t r i e s to r e l a t e to others i n a f o r t h r i g h t and meaningful fashion, but a.t her age she no longer commands the r e q u i s i t e weight."^ Although Grandma does not s u c c e s s f u l l y r e l a t e to Mommy and Daddy i n The American Dream, she d e f i n i t e l y communicates with the audience. Indeed, her d i r e c t d e l i v e r y to the audience near the end of the play constitutes Albee's major use of t h i s play as a game. The development of the play from i t s r e a l i s t i c opening to i t s u n r e a l i s t i c conclusion i s climaxed by Grandma's e x i t from the set and her appearance "stage r i g h t ,  near the footlights'" (p. 122). Her l i n e s to the audience:, from t h i s position, d e l i b e r a t e l y undermine the stage i l l u s i o n and emphasize i t s pretense. As i n a l l Albee's plays, t h i s technique again extends h i s theme of the necessity of illusion-awareness. Mommy and Daddy, s t i l l w i t h i n the stage i l l u s i o n at t h i s point, are accepting the Young Man '"The Theatre of Edward Albee," i n The Modern American Theatre, ed. A l v i n B. Kernan (Englewood C l i f f s , 1967), p.81. - 26 -as t h e i r .son, t r u s t i n g completely i n h i s .attractive appearance and f a i l i n g to recognize the emotional s t e r i l i t y ' that i t conceals. Grandmaj seeing the.Young Man r e a l i s t i c a l l y , i s safe from his control, a f a c t which i s emphasized by her physical separation from the stage. Although Grandma's e x i t from the. set and her d i r e c t speech to the audience are the most' obvious techniques Albee uses to remind the , audience that The American Dream i s "merely" a play,' the over- and under-reactions of the characters also have the same eff e c t . Reactions to the fate of. Mommy and Daddy's f i r s t adopted, son, f o r example, are completely unnatural and' help to distance the audience from, the characters * S i m i l a r l y , the death i t s e l f was unnatural: the "bumble of joy" (p.97), Grandma discloses,.was slowly k i l l e d , being f i r s t blinded, then d i s -membered, and finally..made mute. As f a r as: the characters are concerned, however^, the k i l l i n g of the son has no significance except, perhaps to . Grandma. Mrs. Barker^ the depersonalized •''^professional woman" (p.77) from the Bye; Bye Adoption Service, responds to the facts of the death : with only a "my, my, my" (p.101),•an under-reaction t y p i c a l of many i n the play. S i m i l a r l y , her entrance i s marked by both over- and under-reactions. When Mommy asks, "Would you l i k e a. cigarette., and a drink, and .would you-like to cross your legs?", Mrs. Barker replies,. "You forget, yourself, Mommy: I'm a professional woman. But I w i l l cross my legs" (p.97). Within a few speeches^ t h i s exaggeration of everyday amenities has. become -27 -"Won't you take o f f your, dress?" (p.79) answered by "I don't mind i f I do,».(p.79). The laughter which usually follows such l i n e s suggests the degree to which the audience recognizes the play as a game.- The murder of the son i s , after all,grotesque, just as Mrs. Barker's actions and reactions are shocking. Laughter i n such instances, one would hope, i s enlightened or', at l e a s t , hollow. As Eugene Ionesco says: "Humour makes us conscious, with a free l u c i d i t y , of the tr a g i c or desul-tory condition of man...humour i s the only p o s s i b i l i t y we possess, of-detaching ourselves...."''' Detached from the characters, the audience, hopefully recognizes the i n s i n c e r i t y and hypocrisy that mark d a i l y r i t u a l s . Such r i t u a l s Berne defines as "stereotyped series of simple, complementary ' 8 transactions programmed by external s o c i a l forces." Similar to games i n th e i r pretense of- s i n c e r i t y , r i t u a l s l i k e Mommy's "welcome" to Mrs. Barker are undermined i n The American Dream so.- as to expose t h e i r true lack of true feeling.. Although such r i t u a l s are sometimes necessary as prologues to further communication, too often they are' accepted as communication i t s e l f , substitutes f o r "the r e a l l i v i n g of r e a l intimacy."9 As such, they are more a hindrance than a help to meaningful communication and must be under-mined so as to be controlled. Quoted.in E s s l i n , p.187. " ^Eric Berne.-Games People Play (Ncw~York): Grove Press, Inc., 1964), p.36. . ^ Berne, p.l8. 1 - 28 -The k i l l i n g of the son i n The American Dream, although only discussed by the characters, i s the play's p i v o t a l point — the a c t i o n which supplies the play with symbolic s i g n i f i c a n c e . This i s most f u l l y appreciated a f t e r the entry of the Young Man i n t o the domestic scene, the same Young Man that d e l i v e r e d Grandma's "k i s s of death" i n The Sandbox. I n the American Dream, the Young Man again works as an "Angel of De a t h " ^ but t h i s time he comes to d e l i v e r h i s k i s s to Mommy and Daddy instead of to Grandma. That the Young Man also represents the current manifestation of the American Dream i s c l e a r l y established. Grandma says to him sh o r t l y a f t e r h i s a r r i v a l , "Boy, you know what you are, don't you?' You're the American Dream, that what you are" (p.108). That the Young Man represents both the American Dream and the Angel of Death i n the play gains further s i g n i f i c a n c e through the r e v e l a t i o n that h i s lo n g - l o s t i d e n t i c a l twin was the son that Mommy and Daddy k i l l e d . The suggestion i s that Mommy and Daddy k i l l e d the " r e a l " American Dream only to accept i t s f a c s i m i l e l a t e r , a substitute which has suffered an emotional death comparable to h i s brother's physical' one. Grandma hints at t h i s when she t e l l s the Young Man "You look f a m i l i a r " (p.113) and then l a t e r , a f t e r he has explained h i s past, says "I was mistaken...before. I don't know you from somewher but I knew...once...someone very much l i k e you...or, very much as perhap Albee's stage d i r e c t i o n s regarding the Young Man i n The Sandbox sta t e : " his calesthenics, employing the arms only, should suggest the beating and f l u t t e r i n g of wings. The Young Man i s , a f t e r a l l , the Angel of Death." The Sandbox, p.9. - 29 -you were" (p.115). The important phrase here i s "as you were." The Young Man, l i k e the American dream he represents, has changed. No longer does h i s appearance — "Clean-cut, midwest farm boy typej almost i n s u l t i n g l y good-looking i n ' a t y p i c a l l y American way 0 (p.107) —represent, the honest, courageous and•compassionate approach to l i f e that i t i s held to i n the American dream. The dream, p e r s o n i f i e d by the original son i n the play, has been destroyed.: only i t s f a c s i m i l e remains.. As the Young Man says: "'...from time to time, i n the years that have passed, I have suffered losses...that I can't explain. A f a l l from grace...a departure of innocence...loss...loss" (p .114). The r es u l t i s that he no longer has the capacity to feel,, to love or to communicate. As he says, "I have been drained, t o r n asunder...disemboweled. I have, now, only my person.. .my body, my face. I use what I have...I l e t people love me..." (p.115). The s i g n i f i c a n c e of the Young Man's p o s i t i o n l i e s i n the f a c t that people do love him, do "draw pleasure from [his) groin...from [his] presence" (p.115). His summation of h i s p o s i t i o n — "I accept the syntax around me, f o r while I know I cannot r e l a t e . . . I know I must be r e l a t e d t o " (p.115)—explains both the usefulness and danger that f i c t i o n and dreams can serve. The Young Man, representative of a dream of America which i s , a t best, an ambitious goal and, at worst, a s e l f - d e s t r u c t i v e i l l u s i o n , f u l f i l l s others' needs at the same time as he strengthens h i s hold over them. As long as he i s accepted as an i l l u s i o n — a dream — - 30 -he can be useful; but once he i s taken for "real!-,:'(< he becomes dangerous, an Angel of Death. As he himself says: "Be careful; be very careful. What I have told you may not be true" (p.11$). I t i s precisely because he i s accepted as real by Mommy and Daddy that the Young Man functions as the Angel of Death i n The American Dream. Besides being emotionally s t e r i l e , he i s pragmatic to the point of ruthlessness. He says to Grandma at one point, " I ' l l do almost anything for money" (p.109); later, he says of himself: "I have been unable to see anything, anything, with pity, with affection...with anything but...cool disinterest" (pp.114-115). In accepting merely the appearance of this Young Man, Mommy and Daddy become prey to his whims and desires. Such vulnerability i s both f i t t i n g and ironical i n that Mommy and Daddy k i l l e d the Young Man's twin i n the f i r s t place; i n so doing, they perhaps caused his emotional d e a t h . T h e i r vulnerability, however, i s also tragic, for i t suggests that the end of American society 12 i s imminent. The "substitution of a r t i f i c i a l for real values" that i s represented by Mommy and Daddy's acceptance of the Young Man can only end i n destruction. The celebratory toast that the characters drink at the end of The American Dream i s , perhaps, their l a s t , even a libation to their new-found son . -The possibility of a "sympathetic transference" between •'.the twins i s suggested by the Young Man's description of their relationship (p.114) as well as by the facts he gives about his own "losses": he mentions his eyes, his groin and hands — the three areas that Mommy and Daddy mutililated i n their f i r s t son. > Albee, preface to The American Dream, pp.53-54. - 31 -Such, an interpretation of the play again suggests the importance of games i n Albee's dramatic world. The substitution of a r t i f i c i a l for real values can be viewed as a game of pretense, and one that-has grown .out of hand. . I t i s similar to the game that. ^ Martha plays i n Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? — the substitution of an " a r t i f i c i a l " son for a real one. Both games ultimately gain control of the characters to such a degree that the characters are ; _v destroyed by themj both games can be overcome only by having the characters confront their illusions and become aware of their games. To a degree, Mommy already appears aware of her games. Her acknow-ledgment of the play form i n The Sandbox perhaps suggests her awareness of the game she plays regarding Grandma: that i s , her pretense of sorrow and loss.- Similarly, i n The American Dream, Mommy at times shows perception of her own game-playing. For example, the following speech demonstrates her self-acknowledged participation i n the game of "one-upmanship" : MOMMY: Nonsense. Old people have nothing to say; and i f old people did have, something to say, nobody would l i s t e n to them. (To  Grandma) You see? I can p u l l that stuff just as easy as you can. (p.85) Here, however, i t can be argued that Mommy i s really blind to Grandma's intelligence, a fact which the play as a whole supports. Mommy's attitude towards Grandma/,' as towards a l l the other characters i n the play, - 3 2 -i s s u p e r f i c i a l , r e l y i n g heavily upon self-deluding games and empty r i t u a l . Her frequent adoption of a parental stance i n r e l a t i o n to Daddy i s a good example of t h i s . ^Grandma, on the. other'hand, openly acknowledging the p l a y - i l l u s i o n i n both The Sandbox and The American  Dream, i s t r u l y aware of game-playing and thus i s able to manage and control games to her own salvation. The- conclusion of the play develops from her. playing a game with Mrs.. Barker i n which she convinces the professional woman that the Young Man w i l l f i l l Mommy's adoption request. P r i o r to t h i s game. Grandma says to the "Young Man, "You'll . . . y o u ' l l have to play i t by ear, my dear.*.unless I get a chance to ta l k to you again. I've got to go into my act, now" ( p . l l 6 ) . I n t h i s . case, Grandma involves the Young Man i n her game-playing and suggests his awareness of games as w e l l . That the Young Man i s interested i i i a movie career i s no coincidence; he re a l i z e s the power he can wield as a dream' or fantasy figure, and assumes his part r e a d i l y i n .the game with Mrs. Barker. Moreover^he i s the only character i n the play who i s aware of Grandma after her e x i t from the living-room. .He places, f o r example, f i v e glasses bn the wine tray and "catches Grandma's eye " ( p . 1 2 6 ) just before the toast. Because he Is aware of games and of the importance of i l l u s i o n In everyday l i f e , the Young Man w i l l succeed i n his. masquerade as son and dream. Like Grandma, he gains mastery over his games through his awareness of them; more'importantly, he gains mastery over the other less-aware game-players as w e l l . Games become, f o r him, the means by - 33 -which he can control his destiny, rather than ends i n themselves, r e a l i t y - s u b s t i t u t e s which control the players. This attitude towards games i s again evident i n The Death of  Bessie Smith, the play Albee wrote just p r i o r to The Sandbox. Here, however, the attitude i s expressed i n di f f e r e n t dramatic terms. The dramatic effect of the play has been variously called " r e a l i s t i c , " "impressionistic," "absurd," and "cinematic." The l a s t term i s most apt for the play progresses by the juxtaposition of short scenes which, i n t o t a l , attempt to depict the various actions and reactions surrounding the death of the famous American blues singer who was refused admittance to a Memphis, Tennessee, "white" hospital following a car accident. Albee's use of the play as a game i s developed by the cine-matic "cutting" between scenes which emphasizes the a r t i f i c i a l nature of the play rather than disguises i t . His stage directions f o r the play — the most detailed of a l l his plays -.- suggest his concern with the play's-o v e r a l l v i s u a l e f f e c t . The central area of the stage i s reserved for the admissions room of the ho s p i t a l : surrounding t h i s area on both sides and to the back i s a raised platform on which the scenes peripheral to the main action occur. There should be, Albee suggests,, only "the most 13 minimal suggestion of sets." J The play i s to appear "very open, for the whole back wall of the stage i s f u l l of sky, which w i l l vary from scene •'--Edward Albee, The Death of Bessie Smith and The Sandbox (Toronto: Signet Books, 1963), p.25. A l l subsequent references are to the same edit i o n . - 34 -to scene." (p.25) The use of t h i s "sky" i s very important i n the development of distance between the audience and the play f o r the r i s e and f a l l of l i g h t upon the sky i s never meant"' to seem r e a l . The sky often extends the emotional tone of the play and even has symbolic significance. For example, following Jack's monologue i n Scene Three^, "the sunset i s predominant" (p.39) even after the l i g h t s fade, suggesting that the "evening" of Bessie's l i f e i s at hand. Besides the music which accompanies the sunset a t . t h i s point, Jack's voice i s heard from the wings; sound effects are used to suggest the e x i t of a car and then "the sunset dims again." (p.39).'v' The t o t a l effect of the scene i s distancing. The obviously a r t i f i c i a l sunset combined with the sound effects issuing from the wings of the empty stage emphasize the stage i l l u s i o n . When the music fades and the l i g h t s come up on the admissions room of the hospital (Scene Four), the v i s u a l s h i f t matches an emotional one;, the fading sunset changes to the harsh glare of the hospital; Jack's happy exuberance changes to the Orderly's cy n i c a l hypocrisy. Albee agains uses the stage l i k e Ionesco who has written.that "...just as words are continued by gesture, action, mime... 1 the material elements of the stage can i n turn further i n t e n s i f y these." ' Here the material elements simultaneously further both the mood of the scene and an awareness of the play as a game. •'Monologues such as t h i s abound i n Albee's plays and have a distancing effect similar to Hie monoloqu.es and solioquies i n "Epic" theatre. For example, Jerry's story about the dog i n The Zoo Story, George's account of h is two "novels" i n Who's Af r a i d of V i r g i n i a Woolf? and Tobias' ta l e about the cat i n A Delicate Balance are a l l untypical of r e a l i s t i c speech i n the i r l e x i c a l cohesion. ^(JJuoted i n E s s l i n , p. 132. - 3 5 -The distancing effect of the many l i g h t i n g changes i n The  Death of Bessie Smith i s i n t e n s i f i e d by the "spotted" placement of the scenes on the periphery of the stage: the audience must continually s h i f t v i s u a l focus just as i t must s h i f t i n t e l l e c t u a l and emotional ones. I t i s also s i g n i f i c a n t that as the play progresses, i t s scenes become longer, f i n a l l y moving from the bordering platform to the central playing-area; the distancing effect of the "cutting" technique i s thereby slowly minimized as the audience i s allowed successively longer periods of involvement. Any f i n a l suspension of d i s b e l i e f , however, i s under-mined by the play's conclusion i n which the Nurse "freezes" into tableau following a slap on the face by the Intern. Albee's stage directions following t h i s action read: "The room fades into silhouette again....The  great sunset blazes; music up." (p.80/)'y' The audience i s again reminded that the play i s a r t i f a c t . At the same time, the l i g h t i n g design sets the action i n a broader perspective which extends the play thematically. The f i n a l "great sunset" suggests the irony of involvement with things transitory: Bessie Smith's l i f e , l i k e the play i t s e l f , i s but a moment i n the continuum of time, a t i n y scene played against i n f i n i t e sky. Albee suggests with the play that an awareness of l i f e ' s t r a n s i t o r y nature must be achieved i f l i f e ' s miseries are to be withstood. At the same time, he also suggests that the ennui which canresult from such an awareness can best be met with games. A l t h o u g h t h e c i n e m a t i c ' t e c h n i q u e s A l b e e u s e s i n The D e a t h o f •Bessie. S m i t h do d i s t a n c e , the audience, f r o m t h e s t a g e - i l l u s i o n , the.-' p l a y i s more i m p o r t a n t f o r i t s t h e m a t i c r e l a t i o n s h i p t o A l b e e ' s work t h a n i t s s t y l i s t i c one. ' I t s s i g n i f i c a n c e i s m a i n l y , d e v e l o p e d by t h e Nurse i n t h e p l a y who has been c a l l e d " t h e f i r s t o f A l b e e ' s n e u r o t i c w o m e n . L e e B a x a n d a l l , i n h i s e s s a y "The T h e a t r e . o f Edward A l b e e , " : t r a c e s t h e development o f A l b e e ' s men and women t h r o u g h h i s p l a y s , n o t i n g " 17 how t h e y r e m a i n c o n s i s t e n t l y s i m i l a r . . E s s e n t i a l l y j he f e e l s t h e y a r e : t h e Mommy and Daddy o f The Sandbox and The A m e r i c a n Dream p l a y e d t o v a r y i n g , d e g r e e s and w i t h v a r i o u s m o d i f i c a t i o n s . The Nurse, i n The De a t h o f B e s s i e S m i t h , b e i n g A l b e e ' s f i r s t m a j o r ' f e m a l e character, i s , B a x a n d a l l w r i t e s , " t h e meanest o f t h e Mommies.". B e l e a g u r e d b y h e r i n a c t i v e , , s e l f i s h and b i g o t e d f a t h e r , t h e Nurse v e n t s h e r f r u s t r a t i o n s a g a i n s t men i n g e n e r a l by v i t u p e r a t i v e l y s t r i k i n g p u t a g a i n s t t h o s e men c l o s e s t ' t o h e r , t h e negro O r d e r l y i n t h e h o s p i t a l where she i s employed and the I n t e r n whom she p e r i o d i c a l l y d a t e s . I n s o - d o i n g , she'probes c r u e l l y i n t o t h e O r d e r l y ' s a t t e m p t s t o a c h i e v e r a c i a l e q u a l i t y and i n t o t h e I n t e r n ' s c a p a b i l i t i e s as • a l o v e r . ' . ' ' . ' • • ' A l t h o u g h the Nurse i s s i m i l a r t o Mommy i n h e r v i t u p e r a t i v e and e m a s c u l a t i n g a t t a c k s on men, she i s d i s s i m i l a r i n h e r a t t i t u d e towards games. A t " t h e same t i m e t h a t she a t t a c k s men, the Nurse exposes h e r own f r u s t r a t i o n s and d e s p a i r . A t one p o i n t n e a r t h e end o f t h e p l a y she y e l l s : P e t e r W o l f e , "The S o c i a l T h e a t r e o f Edward A l b e e , " P r a j r i e > S c h o o n e r , X f f l X (1966), p.253. ; ' '-"-. -I n t h e Modern A m e r i c a n -Theatre, ed. A i v i h B. Ker'nan (Englewood C l i f f s , N.J.: P r e n t i c e - H a l l , I n c . , 1967), p..80-98. • - 37 -"I am tired...I am tired of the truth...and I am tired of lying about the truth...I am tired of my skin..~.I WANT OUT!" (p.71).', The Nurse's outburst verbalizes her i n a b i l i t y to play games that successfully ease her awareness of her own re a l i t y . Unlike' Mommy who i s unaware of the illusions she accepts and the games she plays,. the Nurse i s painfully aware of both her illusions and the re a l i t i e s that the illusions disguise. Moreover, she i s also aware of the games other people play to support their i l l u s i o n s . Early i n the play she attacks her father by saying, "...you going to pretend you're something more than you really are, which i s nothing but — a hanger-on... a .^ flunky..." (p.32). Similarly, she attacks the Orderly by confronting him with the r e a l i t y of his position. She says to him "maliciously" (p.47) i n Scene Four: Tell me, boy...is i t true that you have Uncle Tom'd yourself right out of the bosom of your family...right out of your circle of acquaintances?' Is i t true, young man, that you are now an inhabitant of no-man's-land, on the one side shunned and disowned by your brethern, and on the other an object of contempt and derision to your betters? Is that your problem, son? (p.47.) Earlier i n the scene, she says to the Orderly: "...that i s ..the.Vway things are. Those are the facts. Tou had better acquaint yourself with some r e a l i t i e s " (p.41). Such an awareness of games and illusions does not help the Nurse to liv e a more communicative and content l i f e , - 38 -however; rather i t brings about the frustration she i s unable, to escape. The implication i s that some illusions are necessary i f l i f e i s to be 'preserved:,,' just as some games are required to escape 18 the "ennui of pastimes'"' that Berne discusses. Consciousness of games must also be overcome i f they are to provide real support. The Nurse's attitude of superiority to both Orderly and Intern i s a game she plays to bolster an ego wounded by her father, but i t i s a game of which she i s always aware. Based on illusions of "white supremecy" and family tradition, this game i s played i n vain for, as the Nurse says to the Intern, "I am f u l l y aware of what i s true and what i s not true® (p.57). Although one could argue that this, i n i t s e l f , i s an i l l u s i o n , one would then have d i f f i c u l t y explaining the Nurse's "I WANT OUT!" speech. The truth i s that she i s " r e a l i s t i c . . . practical..." (p.57) and i s frustrated as a result. Having achieved an awareness of the "facts," she i s unable to go beyond this by using i l l u s i o n to manage them. When she plays gamesshe does so consciously. Unable to forget that she i s "lying about the truth" (p.71), she thus prevents these l i e s from achieving a truth of their own. The Nurse's i n a b i l i t y to play games that relieve her situation successfully can well be seen i n her relationship with the Intern. This relationship i s heavily marked by games and r i t u a l s , a fact evident even 'Berne, p. 171. - 39 -i n Albee's stage d i r e c t i o n s . In Scene S i x , f o r example, the main scene between the Nurse and the Intern, Albee describes the Nurse as "mimicking 1 1 (p.52), ""coquettish" (p.51), e x h i b i t i n g "mock despair" (p.52), being "mock formal" (p.58) and "mimieking" (p.63). The Intern, himself, r e f e r s to the r i t u a l i z e d nature of many of h i s encounters with the Nurse. Aware of her f r u s t r a t i o n s and h o s t i l i t i e s , he nevertheless plays along with her games, r e a l i z i n g a l l the while that they are more destructive than constructive. Generally, these games develop a lover-hate r e l a t i o n s h i p which i s s i m i l a r to that of George and Martha i n Who's A f r a i d of V i r g i n i a Woolf? Often beginning quite harm-l e s s l y , the games u s u a l l y escalate i n t o f u l l - f l e d g e d v e r b a l war, unleash-i n g the violence inherent i n the r e l a t i o n s h i p . This can be seen when the Nurse "turns coy" (p.60) and says to the Intern "I may l e t you drive me home- t o n i g h t . . . i n your beat-up Chewy" (p.60). The Intern's r e p l y o u t l i n e s the f r u s t r a t i n g sexual games the Nurse plays i n the car, ending with "I am looking forward to i b i s r i t u a l . . . a s I always do" (p.6l). The game escalates from there: NURSE (Pleased): Why, thank you. INTERN: I look forward to t h i s r i t u a l because of how i t sets me apart from other men... NURSE: Aw... INTERN: ...because I am probably the only white man under t h i r t y i n two counties.-"' who has not had the pleasure of... - 40 -NURSE j LIAR 1 : You no-account mother- : grabbing son of a nigger! (p.6l) I t i s s i g n i f i c a n t there that the Nurse screams "LIAR!" to end the game.. The accusation can be taken two ways. On the one hand, the l i n e suggests the Nurse's i n a b i l i t y to face the truth about herself.' On the other hand, and more i n keeping with her character, i t suggests her I n a b i l i t y to l i e within the game. Relatedly, i t suggests her i n a b i l i t y to see the. t r u t h that' the l i e can have. Although the Intern's statement may be a l i e , , i t allows him to communicate with the Nurse i n a d i r e c t manner; i t therefore gains a v a l i d i t y or truthfulness which i s possible f o r a l l i l l u s i o n s to achieve. . The problem here i s that the "truth" hurts. The conclusion of The Death of Bessie Smith further develops the Nurse as the central character i n the play; i r o n i c a l l y , Bessie Smith • never appears. She, l i k e the. Mayor, however, i s present i n that she i s responsible f o r the action of the play. . The Mayor's presence i n the hospital indicates the sickness of the community he heads and symboli-c a l l y suggests reasons for Bessie's journey'to the North. These reasons, of course>. become a l l too obvious following her accident. , The Nurse's wrath, actually meant for the. Intern, i s directed at Jack. The sense of superiority which she so desperately needs becomes- the vici.o.us prejudice that prevents Bessie's entry into the h o s p i t a l . As the Nurse says to Jack: - a -Now you l i s t e n to me, and you get t h i s straight...nigger...this i s a semi-private white h o s p i t a l . . . . (p.72) When the Intern then e x i t s , despite her pleas, to examine Bessie i n the car, the Nurse's wrath reaches "hysteria"'' (p.80). I t remains l o r the Orderly to make the f i n a l comment i n the play. His speech shows the degree to which he has been affected by the scene and the extent to which he has forsaken his dreams of r a c i a l equality and accepted the " r e a l i t i e s " of his subservient p o s i t i o n that the Nurse has been so eager to impress upon him. He says: I never heard of such a thing...bring-ing a dead woman here l i k e that...I don't know what people can be thinking of sometimes.... (p.8o) He does not seem to even remember that "the woman" i s a Negro> much less Bessie Smith. The Nurse at t h i s point i s "frozen, with her hand  to her face" (p.80) where the Intern has h i t her. Her f r u s t r a t i o n and anger are thereby caught on the edge of madness, graphically held for a f i n a l moment of v i s u a l impact. The v i s u a l impact of the Death of Bessie Smith i s stronger than any of Albee's other plays. The cinematic form of the play matches the action which i s b a s i c a l l y narrative. The period of time covered i n the play i s longer than i n any of his others just as the number of different settings i s greater. Elizabeth P h i l l i p s , writing.about the play i n r e l a t i o n - 42 to t he Theatre of the Absurd, states that the play demonstrates a " p l o t l e s s n e s s " -which s a t i s f i e s the dictum that "action i n a pla y must exhibit a pattern of situa t i o n s which become i n t e n s i f i e d , grow more and more dense, then get tangled, either to be disentangled again or end i n unbearable ine x t r i c a b i l i t y . " - ' - ^ C e r t a i n l y as the play progresses, tensions mount and the problems surrounding the Nurse, seemingly unrelated to Bessie, become entangled. Such entanglement, however, i n v o l v i n g many 'characters from disparate s i t u a t i o n s , i s more t y p i c a l of p l o t than "plotlessness'-y Trying to f i t The Death of Bessie Smith i n t o the t r a d i t i o n of The Theatre of the Absurd, as Miss P h i l l i p s does, i s as d i f f i c u l t as t r y i n g to place i t i n the t r a d i t i o n of N a t u r a l i s t i c theatre. The play i s marked by jfe divergence from any t r a d i t i o n a l form, a divergence which i s d e l i b e r -a t e l y used to confuse the audience and "put i t i n t o i t s e l f . " I n an interview with A t l a n t i c Monthly, Albee sa i d : The basic c r i s i s the theatre's i n now i s that the audience p r i m a r i l y wants a r e a f f i r m a t i o n of i t s values, wants to see the status quo, wants to be enter-tained rather than disturbed, wants to be comforted and r e a l l y doesn't want any kind of adventure i n the theatre....20 As i n a l l h i s plays, Albee attempts to make The Death of Bessie Smith a t h e a t r i c a l adventure f o r the audience which w i l l force i t to question 19 "Albee and the Theatre of the Absurd," Tennessee Studies i n L i t . , X (1965), p.75. 20 "John Gielgud and Edward Albee Talk About the Theatre," A t l a n t i c , 215 ( A p r i l , 1965), p.65. i t s own values. The play i s used as a game i n which the audience i s prevented from " c a l l i n g the shots" by having i t s expectations continually frustrated. Not only does Bessie Smith never appear i n the play: a "winner" never emerges either. The Nurse who i s so aware of her i l l u s i o n s i s unable to use them to escape r e a l i t y . Yet the Intern and the Orderly — her two "opponents" i n the play — are unable to withstand her attacks. The conclusion of the play reminds the audience that the play i s i t s e l f "unreal" and suggests that Bessie's l i f e and death have l i t t l e more significance than a play. l i f e i s a temporary conditbn i n which people are a r b i t r a r i l y thrown together "for better or f o r worse. The significance that such a r b i t r a r y encounters can achieve receives much f u l l e r treatment i n Albee's f i r s t play, The Zoo Story, written i n 1958. Whereas the emphasis i n The Death of Bessie Smith i s v i s u a l , the emphasis i n The Zoo Story, i s verbal. This i s f i t t i n g as the play's central concern i s the d i f f i c u l t y of communication i n a world which i s so temporary i t i s meaningless. Just as the Nurse i n The Death of Bessie  Smith i s . c a l l e d the f i r s t of Albee's neurotic women, Jerry i n The Zoo  Story could be c a l l e d the f i r s t of his neurotic males. Indeed, The Zoo  Story has received enthusiastic c r i t i c a l acclaim as w e l l as popular success probably because Jerry, much l i k e Jimmy Porter i n John Osborne's Look Back i n Anger, seems somehow symbolic of his generation and the problems i t faces. A comparison of the two plays from the point of view - 44 -of their importance as dramatic "trend-setters'* i s also v a l i d . American c r i t i c s were happy to anticipate a "new wave" of American theatre following the New York production of The Zoo Story i n I960, just as B r i t i s h c r i t i c s anticipated the advant of a new theatre of social protest following the London premiere of Look Back i n Anger. Unfortunately, i n the case of America, the new movement never materialized and Albee, along with Jack Gelber, Arthur Kopit and Meagan Terrj^ was l e f t to produce plays that are noteworthy for their merging of divergent conventions and their lack of adherence to any "school" of playwrights or playwriting. Although The Zoo. Story has been well-received, the general confusion surrounding i t s relationship to dramatic traditions i s probably the r esult of over-zealous reviewers trying quickly to categorize i t so as to establish Albee as a new "dramatic genius" i n such-and-such a mode. The Zoo Story, like The  Death of Bessie Smith, demonstrates a blending of techniques that belles classification. I t gains both i t s originality and effectiveness because of this. The Zoo Story i s also similar to The Death of Bessie Smith i n that Jerry suffers from the same malaise as the Nurse. Both characters see the r ealities of themselves and others too clearly; both are incapable of playing the games that w i l l relieve their frustrations and allow them to li v e f u l l and communicative live s . This i s not to my that the two characters do not play games. The Nurse, as already demonstrated, plays - 45 -s o c i a l and sexual games with the Intern and attempts to believe the i l l u s i o n of her superiority to both him and the Orderly. S i m i l a r l y , Jerry plays games with Peter, as w e l l as with his landlady and her dog. For both Jerry and the Nurse, however, such games are not enough for t h e i r own salvation. The Death of Bessie Smith ends with the Nurse's hysteria: The Zoo Story ends with Jerry's death. Acutely aware of the i l l u s i o n s that govern and control others, the Nurse and Jerry are unable to f i n d an i l l u s i o n that each can adopt as his own — a master-illusion or life-game each can play "to the hilti4** The conclusion of the two plays d e f i n i t e l y suggests that such a game i s necessary f o r sanity and s u r v i v a l . I n his book e n t i t l e d The Master Game, Dr. Robert S. De Ropp quotes Dr. Thomas Szasz as saying that "what people r e a l l y need and demand from l i f e i s not 21 wealth, comfort or esteem, but games worth playing." He continues by saying: He who cannot f i n d a game worth playing i s apt to f a l l prey to accidie...a paralysis of the w i l l , a f a i l u r e of the appetite...total disenchantment. 2 2 Such disenchantment i s graphically presented i n the figure of Jerry i n The Zoo Story. Aware of the necessity of games, he i s nevertheless 2 1Robert S. De Ropp, The Master Game (New York: D e l l Publishing Co., 1968), p.11. 2 2 I b i d . - 4 6 -unable to f i n d one that w i l l support his l i f e . His f i n a l desperate game with Peter — an enactment of "what happened at the zoo" — i s an i l l u s i o n which he makes into a r e a l i t y . The r e a l i t y i s , of course, his death. The need for a Master Game, to use DeRopp's term, does not i n any way negate the need f o r an awareness of games and a l i b e r a t i o n of the s e l f from con t r o l l i n g i l l u s i o n s . Such an awareness i s prerequisite to any meaningful existence. For this reason, The Zoo Story resemhes a l l of Albee's other plays: what i s c r u c i a l i s the exorcism of i l l u s i o n s that w i l l allow an i n d i v i d u a l to progress towards a happier " l i f e . I n The Zoo Story« Peter represents those individuals who are unknowingly caught i n a web of i l l u s i o n s and games. Having Peter represent values accepted and perpetrated by the Middle Class i n America — the same values represented by Mommy and Daddy i n The American Dream — Albee suggests that the American Middle Class i s dominated by i l l u s i o n s about communication and unity which are dangerously removed from the r e a l i t i e s of i s o l a t i o n and despair. Using Jerry to represent these r e a l i t i e s , Albee places him i n c o n f l i c t with Peter. The res u l t i s that Peter i s forced to emerge from the shelter of his possessions (symbolized by the park bench for which he f i g h t s Jerry) to face the human condition that Jerry represents. In so doing, Peter forsakes his Middle Class complacency and exposes the violence, h o s t i l i t y and fear which have been submerged beneath his s u p e r f i c i a l relationships and attitudes f o r so long. In - 47 -other words, he i s forced to become aware of the games "he plays. Albee i s very d e f i n i t e i n his development of Peter and Jerry as representatives of two d i f f e r e n t approaches to l i f e . Peter i s an 23 executive i n a "small publishing house," who l i v e s with his wife, two daughters and two parakeets i n an apartment on Seventy-fourth Street i n New York. Jerry i s a "permanent transient" (p.37) who describes his home as "the sickening rooming-houses on the West Side of New York Gity, which i s the greatest c i t y i n the world. Amen" (p.37). Peter, who describes himself as "normally...uh...reticent" (p.19) and who says "I don't express myself too w e l l sometimes" (p.20), prefers s u p e r f i c i a l dialo'igae1 ~ marked by cliches l i k e "every man wants a son" (p.l6) — to attempts at more penetrating conversation. Such cliches are "safe" i n that they do not touch upon Peter's privacy and therefore hold no danger of exposing his v u l n e r a b i l i t i e s . Jerry, on the other hand, prefers to communicate on a more personal l e v e l . As he says: "...every once i n a while I l i k e to t a l k to somebody, r e a l l y t a l k : l i k e to get to know somebody, know a l l about him" (p.17). For t h i s reason, Jerry begins questioning Peter as soon as he meets him. His questions are personal and frank, probing beneath the cliches that Peter i s wont to d e l i v e r . When Peter attempts to answer Jerry's questions i n an insincere manner, Jerry either ignores or r i d i c u l e s him. For example, •Edward Albee, The Zoo Story (New York: Signet Books, no date), p.18. A l l subsequent references are to the same edition . - 48 -when J e r r y a s k s P e t e r "who a r e y o u r f a v o r i t e w r i t e r s ? " (p.21) , P e t e r anwers " W e l l , I l i k e a g r e a t many w r i t e r s : I have a c o n s i d e r a b l e . . . c a t h o l i c i t y o f t a s t e , i f I may s a y s o . These two men a r e f i n e , e a c h i n h i s way. B a u d e l a i r e , o f c o u r s e . . . u h . . . i s by f a r t h e f i n e r o f t h e two, b u t Marquand has a p l a c e . . . i n o u r . . . u h . . . n a t i o n a l . . . " (p.21) . J e r r y i n t e r r u p t s P e t e r ' s s p e e c h w i t h " S k i p i t " and P e t e r says " I . . . s o r r y . " P e t e r ' s remark shows a n acknow-ledgement o f t h e m e a n i n g l e s s i n s i n c e r i t y w h i c h has marked h i s speech. J e r r y ' s a t t i t u d e towards c o m m u n i c a t i o n has f o r c e d P e t e r i n t o a n awareness o f t h e i l l u s i o n o f communication he m a i n t a i n s . S i m i l a r l y , when J e r r y s a y s " I w a l k e d a l l t h e way up F i f t h Avenue f r o m W a s h i n g t o n S q u a r e " (p.21) , P e t e r i s eager t o e s t a b l i s h t h a t J e r r y l i v e s i n " t h e V i l l a g e ^ ; J e r r y r e a l i z e s t h i s and s a y s "what were you t r y i n g t o do? Make sense o u t o f t h i n g s ? B r i n g o r d e r ? The o l d p i g e o n h o l e b i t ? " (p.22) H i s a g g r e s s i v e a p p r a i s a l o f P e t e r ' s m o t i v e s f o r c e s P e t e r t o c o n f r o n t a r e a l i t y he p r e f e r s t o i g n o r e : p e o p l e cannot be p i g e o n h o l e d because l i f e i s n o t o r d e r e d ; " s e n s e " i s n o t i n h e r e n t i n t h i n g s . J e r r y ' s d e s c r i p t i o n o f h i s rooming-house (p.22) n o t o n l y p l a c e s him f a r f r o m " t he V i l l a g e " b u t d e p i c t s h i s l o n e l y and b i z a r r e e x i s t e n c e a s w e l l . S i g n i f i -c a n t l y , P e t e r i s "em b a r r a s s e d " (p.22) as a r e s u l t . P e t e r i s c o n t i n u a l l y embarrassed and d i s c o m f o r t e d b y J e r r y I n The Zoo S t o r y . H i s d i s c o m f o r t r e s u l t s f r o m t h e c o n f u s i o n he f e e l s a s a r e s u l t o f J e r r y ' s t r u t h f u l d e s c r i p t i o n o f h i s l i f e and h i s a t t e m p t s t o - 49 -communicate. S u c h a l i f e i s a l i e n t o P e t e r who has escape d t h e l o n e l i n e s s J e r r y d e s c r i b e s by a c c e p t i n g t h e i l l u s i o n s o f harmony and h a p p i n e s s t h a t h i s g a m e - p l a y i n g s u p p o r t s . A f t e r J e r r y d e s c r i b e s h i s l a n d l a d y , P e t e r s a y s , " I t ' s s o . . . u n t h i n k a b l e . I f i n d i t h a r d t o b e l i e v e t h a t p e o p l e s u c h as t h a t r e a l l y a r e " ( p . 2 8 ) . J e r r y r e p l i e s , " I t ' s f o r r e a d i n g a b o u t , i s n ' t i t ? " ( p . 2 8 ) ; l a t e r he s a y s , "And f a c t i s b e t t e r l e f t t o f i c t i o n " ( p . 2 9 ) . T h i s l a s t l i n e i s a p i t h y summation o f J e r r y ' s p o s i t i o n i n t h e p l a y as w e l l as a n i r o n i c a l comment on P e t e r ' s a t t i t u d e t o w a r d s r e a l i t y . The l i n e r e i t e r a t e s J e r r y ' s e a r l i e r s p e e c h about p o r n o g r a p h i c p l a y i n g c a r d s i n w h i c h he sa y s ...when y o u ' r e a k i d y o u use t h e c a r d s as a s u b s t i t u t e f o r a r e a l e x p e r i e n c e , and when y o u ' r e o l d e r y o u use r e a l e x -p e r i e n c e as a s u b s t i t u t e f o r t h e f a n t a s y , (p.27) F o r J e r r y , " t h e f a c t s ' " c a n o f t e n o n l y be communicated t h r o u g h f i c t i o n . S u c h f i c t i o n , when i t e n a b l e s one t o communicate, g a i n s a v a l i d i t y t h a t e l e v a t e s i t t o t r u t h . Thus i l l u s i o n s w h i c h a r e s u p p o r t e d by games o f p r e t e n s e c a n g a i n a r e l a t i v e t r u t h o r v a l i d i t y t h r o u g h t h e i r b e n e f i c i a l r e s u l t s . T h i s i d e a f orms t h e b a s i s o f J e r r y ' s r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h h i s l a n d l a d y . D e s c r i b i n g h e r s e x u a l advances towards h i m , J e r r y d e l i v e r s t h e f o l l o w i n g s p e e c h : Bu t I have f o u n d a way t o keep h e r o f f . When she t a l k s t o me, when she p r e s s e s h e r s e l f t o my body and mumbles about - 5 0 -h e r room and tow I s h o u l d come t h e r e , I m e r e l y say: b u t , L o v e; wasn't y e s t e r d a y enough f o r y o u , and t h e day b e f o r e ? Then she p u z z l e s , she makes s l i t s o f her t i n y e y e s , she sways a l i t t l e , and t h e n , P e t e r ...and i t i s a t t h i s moment t h a t I t h i n k I m i g h t be d o i n g some good i n t h a t t o r -mented house...a s i m p l e - m i n d e d s m i l e b e g i n s t o f o r m on h e r u n t h i n k a b l e f a c e , and she g i g g l e s and gr o a n s as she t h i n k s about y e s t e r d a y and day b e f o r e ; as she b e l i e v e s and r e l i v e s what n e v e r happened, (p.28) T h i s s p e e c h c l e a r l y p r e s e n t s J e r r y ' s awareness o f t h e b e n e f i t s games and i l l u s i o n s c a n have. The game he p l a y s w i t h h i s l a n d l a d y f o s t e r s t h e i l l u s i o n o f t h e i r s e x u a l c o n t a c t : b e l i e v i n g t h e i l l u s i o n , t h e l a n d -l a d y f o r g e t s J e r r y and l e a v e s him "safev.3 A l t h o u g h J e r r y i s a b l e t o p l a y t h i s game w i t h h i s l a n d l a d y , however, he i s u n a b l e t o f i n d a game w h i c h a l l o w s h i m t o l i v e . The game he p l a y s w i t h P e t e r a b out t h e zoo — based upon t h e i l l u s i o n t h a t s o m e t h i n g r e a l l y happened t h e r e — i s t h e l a s t game he p l a y s i n h i s a t t e m p t t o r e l a t e m e a n i n g f u l l y t o a n o t h e r i n d i v i d u a l . B a s i c a l l y , t h e game r e f l e c t s t h e p h i l o s o p h i c a l p r e m i s e J e r r y has a b s t r a c t e d f r o m o t h e r s u c h a t t e m p t s a t c o m m u n i c a t i o n , n o t a b l y f r o m h i s a t t e m p t t o b e f r i e n d h i s l a n d l a d y ' s dog. As he s a y s : I have l e a r n e d t h a t n e i t h e r k i n d n e s s nor c r u e l t y by t h e m s e l v e s , i n d e p e n d e n t o f e a c h o t h e r , c r e a t e s a n y e f f e c t beyond t h e m s e l v e s ; and I have l e a r n e d t h a t t h e two combined, t o g e t h e r , a t t h e same time., a r e t h e t e a c h i n g e m o t i o n , ( p p . 3 5 - 3 6 ) Here t h e p h r a s e " t e a c h i n g e m o t i o n " i s i m p o r t a n t , f o r i t p i n - p o i n t s J e r r y ' s f u n c t i o n i n t h e p l a y . I n a sense he becomes a m a r t y r , f o r h i s - 51 -d e a t h t e a c h e s , i f n o t +•-> P e t e r t h e n c e r t a i n l y t o t h e a u d i e n c e , t h e s t e r i l i t y and s h a l l o w n e s s o f P e t e r ' s l i f e and v a l u e s . As B a x a n d a l l s t a t e s , . . . P e t e r c a n no l o n g e r deny c o m p l i c i t y . . . He has been r o b b e d o f c e r t i t u d e about h i s way o f l i f e . A n a u d i e n c e , s h o u l d i t i n c l u d e P e t e r s , v i c a r i o u s l y m i g h t be as shaken, as d i s p o s s e s s e d . 24 J e r r y becomes a modern-day J e r e m i a h who denounces t h e f a l s e gods o f h i s day and a t t e m p t s t o t e a c h t h e p i l l a r o f s o c i e t y ( " P e t e r " i s Greek f o r r o c k ) t h e e r r o r o f h i s w a y s . 2 ^ To what degree P e t e r i s a f f e c t e d i s d e b a t a b l e b u t h i s f i n a l "Oh, my God," " r e p e a t e d many t i m e s , v e r y r a p i d l y " (p.47) i s a f a r c r y f r o m h i s i n i t i a l "wary, b u t i n t e r e s t e d " "Oh?" ( p . 1 4 ) . B e s i d e s w o r k i n g t o undermine t h e games P e t e r p l a y s and t o e x o r c i s e t h e i l l u s i o n s he has about l i f e , J e r r y s e r v e s a n o t h e r p u r p o s e i n The Zoo  S t o r y . I n h i s d e s p e r a t i o n and d e a t h , J e r r y d e m o n s t r a t e s t h e need f o r g a m e - p l a y i n g once one's r e a l i t y has been acknowledged. P e t e r , t h o u g h smugly c o m p l a c e n t and unaware b e f o r e h i s e n c o u n t e r w i t h J e r r y , i s r e l a t i v e l y happy i n h i s a p a r t m e n t arrang em en t. I t i s J e r r y , t h e aware and " l i b e r a t e d " i n d i v i d u a l , who i s a l i e n a t e d and unhappy. The i r o n y here i s c r u c i a l t o t h e p l a y as w e l l as t o A l b e e ' s a t t i t u d e t o w a r d s game and 24p. 89 2 5 j 3 a x a n d a l l , p.86 i l l u s i o n . The e x o r c i s m o f P e t e r ' s i l l u s i o n s , t h e ' u n d e r m i n i n g o f h i s games, l e a v e s . h i m i n t h e same p o s i t i o n t h a t J e r r y was a t t h e . b e g i n n i n g o f t h e p l a y . " D i s p o s s e s s e d " .(pi49), he has become an "animal" 1 (p.49); as s u c h , he i s a n aware p a r t i c i p a n t i n t h e zoo 25 which. J e r r y compare!! "to l i f e . Mow, l i k e J e r r y , he m u s t . s e a r c h f o r a M a s t e r Game w h i c h can a l l o w him t o l e a d a more m e a n i n g f u l l i f e . ' That s u c h a'• s e a r c h i s more p o s i t i v e t h a n P e t e r ' s p a s t e x i s t e n c e i s i m p l i c i t I n t h e p l a y . That s u c h a s e a r c h w i l l end h a p p i l y i s d e b a t a b l e . ' The d i s c o m f o r t t h a t J e r r y c a u s e s P e t e r i n The Zoo S t o r y i s c r u c i a l t o P e t e r ' s awakening t o t h e i l l u s i o n s he h a r b o r s about l i f e . Such d i s c o m f o r t i s a l s o ' t h e p l a y ' s c h i e f d r a m a t i c e f f e c t , r e s u l t i n g f r o m t h e a u d i e n c e ' s i n a b i l i t y t o p i c k t h e " w i n n e r " and " l o s e r " o f t h e p i e c e . As i n a l l h i s p l a y s , A l b e e a t t e m p t s t o " c a l l t h e s h o t s " i n o r d e r t o f o r c e t h e a u d i e n c e i n t o a t h e a t r i c a l a d v e n t u r e w h i c h w i l l n e c e s s i t a t e a r e -e v a l u a t i o n o f i t s own s t a n d a r d s . H i s m e r g i n g o f t e c h n i q u e s c o n v e n t i o n a l t o b o t h N a t u r a l i s t i c t h e a t r e and T h e a t r e o f t h e A b s u r d ' c o n s t i t u t e s h i s use o f t h e p l a y as a game w h i c h has as i t s aim and e f f e c t t h e a u d i e n c e ' s s i m u l t a n e o u s i n v o l v e m e n t i n and detachment f r o m t h e p l a y . D i s c u s s i n g the e f f e c t o f The Zoo S t o r y , G e r a l d N e l s o n echoes Albee'. s comment about a u d i e n c e . a l i e n a t i o n w h i c h was q u o t e d i n C h a p t e r One o f t h i s work (p. 1 3 ) . N e l s o n w r i t e s : The metaphor i s developed' l a t e i n t h e p l a y . J e r r y s a y s : " I went t o t h e zoo t o f i n d " o u t more about the way p e o p l e e x i s t w i t h a n i m a l s , . and t h e way a n i m a l s e x i s t w i t h each o t h e r , and w i t h p e o p l e t o o . I t p r o b a b l y wasn't a f a i r t e s t , what w i t h everyone s e p a r a t e d by b a r s f r o m ' everyone e l s e , t h e a n i m a l s f o r t h e most p a r t f r o m each o t h e r , and a l w a y s t h e p e o p l e f r o m the. a n i m a l s . B u t , i f i t ' s a zoo, t h a t ' s t h e way i t i s . " (pp.39-4"'.). - 53 -A v i e w e r l i k e s t h e s a f e t y o f b e i n g once removed and y e t , a t t h e same t i m e , wants t o f e e l h i m s e l f i m a g i n a t i v e l y a p a r t o f t h e a c t i o n — s i m u l t a n e o u s l y b o t h i n v o l v e d and s a f e . 27 Such s i m u l t a n e o u s f e e l i n g s a r e r e l a t e d t o t h e i n v o l v e m e n t and o b j e c t i v i t y t h a t A l b e e d e s i r e s o f t h e a u d i e n c e . B o t h a r e a c h i e v e d by t h e m e r g i n g o f t h e a t r i c a l c o n v e n t i o n s and b y a s h i f t i n g o f t h e a u d i e n c e ' s a s s o c i a t i o n s between P e t e r and J e r r y . C o n c e r n i n g t h i s l a s t p o i n t , N e l s o n p o i n t s o u t t h a t t h e a u d i e n c e w i l l most p r o b a b l y r e l a t e t o P e t e r a t t h e o u t s e t . o f t h e p l a y , he b e i n g p r e s e n t e d as t h e r e s p e c t a b l e f a m i l y man who i s a c c o s t e d b y a bohemian. Tom D r i v e r c r i t i c i z e s P e t e r ' s p a s s i v e a c c e p t a n c e o f J e r r y a s a b s u r d , m a i n t a i n i n g t h a t no "s a n e , a v e r a g e - t y p e p e r s o n would be a p a s s i v e s p e c t a t o r i n t h e p r e s e n c e o f b e h a v i o r o b v i o u s l y headed t o w a r d d e s t r u c t i v e 28 v i o l e n c e . " B e s i d e s b e i n g a n a i v e a p p r a i s a l o f human n a t u r e , D r i v e r ' s c o n t e n t i o n m i s s e s a c r u c i a l p o i n t a b o u t t h e p l a y ; P e t e r r e m a i n s on t h e p a r k bench f o r p r e c i s e l y t h e same r e a s o n t h e a u d i e n c e comes t o t h e t h e a t r e ; t h a t i s , because he i s e n t e r t a i n e d b y s t o r y - t e l l i n g , p a r t i c u l a r l y when t h e s t o r y - t e l l e r i s v e r y o b v i o u s l y h i s o p p o s i t e . L i k e N i c k and Honey i n Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? , P e t e r d e s i r e s a v i c a r i o u s ' e x p e r i e n c i n g o f l i f e w h i c h o f f e r s no p e r s o n a l t h r e a t . L i k e t h e a u d i e n c e , he wants t o r e m a i n s i m u l t a n e o u s l y i n v o l v e d and s a f e , a p o s i t i o n w h i c h he i n i t i a l l y 27"Edward A l b e e and h i s well-made p l a y s , " T r i - Q u a r t e r l y , no.5 ( S p r i n g , 1 9 6 7 ) , p.185. 2 8 i t y h a t ' s t h e m a t t e r w i t h Edward A l b e e ? " i n The Modern A m e r i c a n T h e a t r e , e d . A l v i n B. K e r n a n (Englewood C l i f f s , N.J., 1 9 6 7 ) , p.81. 54 -f e e l s i s p o s s i b l e w i t h J e r r y . As t h e p l a y p r o g r e s s e s , however, P e t e r i s f o r c e d t o r e a l i z e t h a t i n v o l v e m e n t w i t h J e r r y i s f a r f r o m s a f e ; J e r r y w i l l n o t a l l o w horn t o r e m a i n m e r e l y a s p e c t a t o r l i k e t h e a u d i e n c e — he must a c t i v e l y d e f e n d h i m s e l f . The a u d i e n c e , o f c o u r s e , comes t o r e a l i z e t h i s as w e l l . R a t h e r t h a n c o n t i n u e t o s i d e w i t h P e t e r , however, t h e a u d i e n c e w i l l p r o b a b l y r e l a t e t o J e r r y i n s t e a d , b o t h b e c a u s e , as N e l s o n p o i n t s o u t , he i s more i n t e r e s t i n g t h a n P e t e r and because he s u c c e s s f u l l y e xposes P e t e r ' s s u p e r f i c i a l i t i e s . T h i s s h i f t i n a l l e g i a n c e s becomes i m p o r t a n t when J e r r y d i e s a t t h e end o f t h e p l a y : r e s p e c t a b l e P e t e r has become a m u r d e r e r w h i l e bohemian J e r r y has become a m a r t y r t o t h e cause o f t r u t h . The c o n f u s i o n t h e a u d i e n c e f e e l s about t h e c h a r a c t e r s f o r c e s i t t o examine them i n r e l a t i o n t o i t s own v a l u e s . . The f a c t t h a t n e i t h e r J e r r y n o r P e t e r c a n be c a t a g o r i z e d a s v i l l a i n o r h e ro r e f l e c t s t h e m o r a l c o n f u s i o n w h i c h A l b e e f e e l s i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f T w e n t i e t h C e n t u r y l i f e . The f a c t t h a t n e i t h e r c h a r a c t e r "wins"' o r " l o s e s 1 1 i n t h e p l a y f r u s t r a t e s t h e a u d i e n c e ' s d e s i r e f o r a p r e s e n t a t i o n : . i D f a " r i g h t " and "wrong" a t t i t u d e t o w a r d s l i f e . L i k e t h e A m e r i c a n Dream. The Zoo S t o r y i l l u s t r a t e s t h e f a c t t h a t a p p e a r a n c e s a r e o f t e n d e c e p t i v e ; any) i n i t i a l e x p e c t a t i o n s a b out t h e c h a r a c t e r s a r e d e f i n i t e l y f r u s t r a t e d . The f r u s t r a t i o n o f e x p e c t a t i o n s i s c r u c i a l t o t h e o b j e c t i v i t y A l b e e d e s i r e s o f t h e a u d i e n c e . He a l o n e d e c i d e s t h e r u l e s o f h i s d r a m a t i c games; t h e a u d i e n c e must work t o e s t a b l i s h and r e e s t a b l i s h t h e s e r u l e s - 55 -a s q u i c k l y a s he changes them. The s e t o f The Zoo S t o r y -which i s s i m p l y two p a r k benches and some " f o l i a g e , t r e e s , s k y " ( p . l l ) o f f e r s l i t t l e c l u e t o t h e d r a m a t i c e f f e c t A l b e e d e s i r e s j s u c h an e f f e c t i s a l m o s t t o t a l l y dependent upon l a n g u a g e . A l t h o u g h t h e language o f The Zoo S t o r y f o r t h e most p a r t p r o g r e s s e s n a t u r a l i s t ! c a l l y , i t a t t i m e s i s e x a g g e r -a t e d t o t h e degree t h a t i t has a d i s t a n c i n g e f f e c t upon t h e a u d i e n c e . As Markus s a y s , " t h e language t h a t t h e two c h a r a c t e r s engage i n i s . . . i • . • o n l y r e a l i s t i c t o t h e e a r s o f t h o s e who a r e s u p e r c i l i o u s enough t o t h i n k 29 t h e y c o u l d be so w i t t y . " The sarcasm o f many o f J e r r y ' s r e m a r k s , t h e r a p i d b a n t e r between J e r r y and P e t e r , J e r r y ' s u n n a t u r a l l y l o n g monologues — a l l work t o r e m i n d t h e a u d i e n c e t h a t i t i s w a t c h i n g a n i l l u s i o n o f l i f e b y i n t e r m i t t e n t l y i n t e r r u p t i n g t h e n a t u r a l i s t i c f l o w o f t h e p l a y . T h i s i s n o t t o say t h a t t h e a u d i e n c e r emains c o n t i n u a l l y aware o f t h e p l a y . R a t h e r , i t has t h e s i m u l t a n e o u s i n v o l v e m e n t and o b j e c t i v i t y t h a t A l b e e f e e l s i s so i m p o r t a n t . That s u c h s i m u l t a n e o u s r e s p o n s e s h o u l d be c o n d i t i o n e d o n l y by- l a n g u a g e , as opposed t o the v i s u a l e f f e c t s o f The  D e a t h o f B e s s i e S m i t h o r t h e use o f p h y s i c a l movement i n Who 1 s A f r a i d , . o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? , makes t h e p l a y i m p o r t a n t i n A l b e e ' s r e p e r t o i r e . The i m p o r t a n c e t h a t language has i n t h e p l a y i s i m m e d i a t e l y e s t a b l i s h e d by t h e c h a r a c t e r s ' c o n c e r n w i t h words. When J e r r y says " I J v e been w a l k i n g n o r t h " ( p . 1 2 ) , P e t e r r e p l i e s , " I . . . w e l l , no, n o t Thomas B. M a r k u s , " T i n y A l i c e and T r a g i c C a t h a r s i s , " E T J , X V I I ( M a r c h , 1 9 6 5 ) , p.226. - 56 -'.due n o r t h : b u t , we c a l l i t n o r t h . - I t ' s n o r t h e r l y " (p..13). • .' W i t h i n a few l i n e s he s u p p l i e s " J e r r y w i t h t h e word, " p r o s t h e s i s " ' ( i t s e l f r e l a t e d t o speech) and J e r r y a s k s "Do y o u mind, i f we t a l k ? " ( p . 15) S h o r t l y a f t e r t h i s . , f o l l o w i n g an acknowledgement o f t h e c l i c h e s w h i c h mark co m m u n i c a t i o n — "But t h a t ' s t h e way t h e c o o k i e c r u m b l e s ? " ' •'• ( p . l 6 ) : — J e r r y d e l i v e r s t h e s p e e ch i n w h i c h he acknowledges h i s . d e s i r e t o " r e a l l y t a l k " ( p . 1 7 ) . What f o l l o w s , however, i s l e s s l i k e a . c o n v e r s a t i o n t h a n a monologue i n w h i c h J e r r y i n t e r r u p t s h i s " s t o r y - -•: t e l l i n g " w i t h s h o r t p e r s o n a l q u e s t i o n s t o P e t e r . - P e t e r , h i m s e l f , s a y s . t o J e r r y : "...you d o n ' t r e a l l y c a r r y on a c o n v e r s a t i o n : y o u j u s t a s k q u e s t i o n s " ( p . 1 9 ) . T h i s i s i m p o r t a n t f o r i t " a g a i n s u g g e s t s t h e d e s p e r a t i o n o f J e r r y ' s p r e d i c a m e n t . A t t e m p t i n g t o b r e a k o u t o f h i s i s o l a t i o n , he . u s e s words t o c r e a t e h i s i d e n t i t y , to. p a i n t , a p i c t u r e o f h i s e x i s t e n c e w h i c h w i l l communicate h i s d e s p a i r . F o r t h i s reason,, h i s words become monolgues w h i c h a r e u n n a t u r a l l y l o n g . A t t h e end o f J e r r y ' s monologue about h i s l a n d l a d y ' s , dog, P e t e r s a y s , " I . i i l d o n ' t u n d e r s t a n d - t h a t . v . I d on't t h i n k I...Why d i d y o u t e l l me t h i s ? " (p.36) H i s r e s p o n s e i s maddening to. J e r r y because i t i s e x a c t l y the o p p o s i t e o f what he d e s i r e s . J e r r y ' s use o f words, r a t h e r - t h a n h e l p i n g t o overcome h i s i s o l a t i o n , has added t o i t . As A r t h u r Qberg w r i t e s i n a p e n e t r a t i n g a r t i c l e on A l b e e ' s l a n g u a g e and i m a g i n a t i o n , " u n a b l e t o ' r e l a t e ' . . . A l b e e ' s p r o t a g o n i s t s l o o k t o language t o f o r g e w h a t e v e r i d e n t i t y and r e l a t i o n s h i p s t h e i r l i v e s have l a c k e d . " - ^ "Dialogue', n e v e r adequate,..attempts t o 3Q"Edward A l b e e ; H i s Language and Imagination,.". ' P r a i r i e Schooner ( S p r i n g , 1966)•,. p. 143.' - 57 -s u r r o u n d what i t would c o n t r o l , s e e k i n g v i c t o r y i n i t s c o p i a and i n 31 a n i n t e n s i t y w h i c h i s r e l a t e d t o t h i s abundance." J e r r y ' s abundance o f words, b e s i d e s i r o n i c a l l y a dding, to. h i s i s o l a t i o n , i s m a i n l y r e s p o n s i b l e f o r t h e p l a y ' s i n c l u s i o n i n d i s c u s s i o n s o f A b s u r d T h e a t r e . I n a s e n s e , - t h e abundance i s an e x a g g e r a t i o n o r m a g n i f i c a t i o n o f human f o l l y s i m i l a r t o t h e o v e r - a n d . u n d e r - r e a c t i o n s o f t h e c h a r a c t e r s in-.The A m e r i c a n Bream and The Sandbox. B r i a n Way, i n an a r t i c l e c a l l e d " A l b e e and t h e ' A b s u r d , " compares J e r r y ' s monologues t o L u c k y ' s speech i n Samuel Beckett.' s. W a i t i n g f o r Godot: b o t h , he Says, a r e examples o f " p s e u d o - c r i s i s , " a c o n v e n t i o n he a t t r i b u t e s t o T h e a t r e o f the. A b s u r d . Mr. Way w r i t e s that.: p s e u d o - c r i s i s o c c u r s when a...complex o f t e n s i o n s i s b r o u g h t . t o a head w i t h o u t r e -s o l v i n g a n y t h i n g , w i t h o u t c o n t r i b u t i n g t o any development o r p r o g r e s s i o n , s e r v i n g i n f a c t t o d e m o n s t r a t e t h a t n o t h i n g as m e a n i n g f u l as p r o g r e s s i o n . o r development . can occur-, e m p h a s i z i n g t h a t c o m p l e x i t y and . t e n s i o n a r e permanent and u n r e s o j j a b l e ' ..' eleme n t s , o f a w o r l d on c o n f u s i o n . That n o t h i n g i s r e s o l v e d . b y J e r r y ' s s p e e c h c a n be seen by P e t e r ' s r e a c t i o n t o i t ; , t h a t i t p r o g r e s s e s nowhere c a n be r e a l i z e d by J e r r y ' s c o n t i n u e d a t t e m p t s t o communicate. The monologue i s but a n o t h e r example o f j e r r y ' s d e s p e r a t i o n , , a n o t h e r example o f h i s a t t e m p t t o use words t o overcome h i s i s o l a t i o n . I t s ' l a c k o f success- s u g g e s t s t h e u l t i m a t e i n a d e q u a c y ^ O p . c i t . *' '. : 3 2 n A l b e e and t h e A b s u r d : 'The A m e r i c a n Dream' and 'The Zoo Story£^>"in A m e r i c a n T h e a t r e , S t r a t f o r d - u p o n - A v o n S t u d i e s , 1 0 (Londonr Edward A r n o l d L t d . , 1 9 6 7 ) , p . 2 0 2 . ':'..' - 58 -o f w ords, as do t h e f i n a l moments i n t h e p l a y . P e t e r and J e r r y f i n a l l y communicate, n o t t h r o u g h l a n g u a g e , b u t t h r o u g h s h e e r p h y s i c a l c o n t a c t . A l t h o u g h p h y s i c a l c o n t a c t b r i n g s about t h e c o n c l u s i o n o f The Zoo S t o r y , J e r r y s t i l l comments upon t h e a c t i o n and t h e r e b y p r o v i d e s t h e p l a y w i t h a v e r b a l r e s o l u t i o n . S u c h a r e s o l u t i o n B r i a n Way n o t e s I s t r a d i t i o n a l t o N a t u r a l i s t i c t h e a t r e and not t o t h e T h e a t r e o f t h e A b s u r d . He w r i t e s about t h e p l a y : " t h e a c t i o n and t h e d i a l o g u e a r e d i s l o c a t e d , a r b i t r a r y and- a b s u r d . . . u p t o t h e moment o f J e r r y ' s d e a t h , and t h e n a l l 31 t h e t r a d i t i o n a l a s s u m p t i o n s o f N a t u r a l i s m f l o o d back i n t o t h e p l a y . " T h i s , he f e e l s , has a d e t r i m e n t a l e f f e c t f o r , a s he s a y s , " t h e s l i g h t e s t , h i n t t h a t e v e n t s i n a n a b s u r d p l a y a r e amenable t o e v e r y day e x p l a n a t i o n 32 i s c o m p l e t e l y d e s t r u c t i v e o f t h e i r d r a m a t i c e f f e c t i v e n e s s . " A g a i n , t h e p r o b l e m w i t h h i s c r i t i c i s m l i e s i n h i s a t t e m p t t o r e l e g a t e The Zoo  S t o r y t o t h e A b s u r d t r a d i t i o n . The " e v a s i o n o f t h e absurd"- 3- 3 w h i c h he f i n d s u n f o r t u n a t e i n t h e p l a y has a d e l i b e r a t e l y p l a n n e d e f f e c t : i t f o r c e s t h e a u d i e n c e back i n t o i t s e l f so t h a t i t c a n a p p r e c i a t e t h e p l a y as a w h o l e . The " a b s u r d i t y " o f J e r r y ' s s p e e c h c e a s e s t o be i m p o r t a n t as t h e speech becomes r e a l i n i t s e m o t i o n a l i m p a c t . A t t h e same t i m e , t h e i n t e n s i t y o f t h e d e a t h - s c e n e i s p r e v e n t e d f r o m b e i n g t o t a l l y i n v o l v i n g b y t h e 31way, p.204-32lbid. 3 3 I b i d . e x a g g e r a t e d speeches w h i c h have p r e c e d e d i t . E a c h b a l a n c e s t h e o t h e r so t h a t b o t h a n e m o t i o n a l and i n t e l l e c t u a l r e s p o n s e t o t h e p l a y c a n o c c u r . The m e r g i n g o f d i v e r g e n t t h e a t r i c a l c o n v e n t i o n s , i n t h i s p l a y as i n a l l o f A l b e e ' s p l a y s , a l l o w s t h e a u d i e n c e t o r _ e c o g n i z e t h e p l a y as a game and t h e r e b y t o a p p r e c i a t e more f u l l y t h e n e c e s s i t y f o r and t h e b e n e f i t s o f a n awareness o f i l l u s i o n . CHAPTER THREE THE GAMES OF GEORGE AND MARTHA " I n s t a g e - p l a y , p l e a s u r e l i e s i n i m i t a -t i o n , o r i g i n a l l y o f e x t e r n a l and t a n g i b l e e x i s t e n c e . B y t h e same m e t a p h o r i c r o a d , t h i s i m i t a t i o n c a n r e a c h t h e e n t i r e b r e a t h and d e p t h o f human e m o t i o n . The t h e a t r e and t h e r i t e meet a g a i n i n s u c h i m i t a t i o n . . . " B e n j a m i n Hunnigher The theme and p u r p o s e o f Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a WooIf? i s s t i l l t h e l i b e r a t i o n o f t h e s e l f f r o m i t s c o n t r o l l i n g i l l u s i o n s •which, A l b e e f e e l s , i s e s s e n t i a l t o t h e p r e s e r v a t i o n o f s a n i t y and s o c i e t y . The i n d i v i d u a l ' s e s t a b l i s h i n g a w o r k a b l e r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h r e a l i t y depends upon h i s knowing what h i s p a r t i c u l a r r e a l i t y i s . Too o f t e n games a r e u s e d t o escape a c o n f r o n t a t i o n w i t h r e a l i t y and a r e p l a y e d w i t h o u t a n u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e game and w i t h o u t c o n t r o l o f the i l l u s i o n s t h e game s e t s up. Such i s t h e case i n Who's A f r a i d o f  V i r g i n i a WooIf? i n w h i c h many o f t h e games t h e c h a r a c t e r s p l a y have c e a s e d t o s e r v e t h e p l a y e r s and have come t o dominate them i n s t e a d . S u c h games p r e v e n t t h e c h a r a c t e r s f r o m e s t a b l i s h i n g c ommunicative and f r u i t f u l r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h o t h e r s and, more i m p o r t a n t l y , i n h i b i t t h e i r g r a s p o f r e a l i t y . S u c h games must be acknowledged and managed i f the i n d i v i d u a l i s t o r e g a i n a sense o f i d e n t i t y and r e e s t a b l i s h c o n t r o l o f h i s d e s t i n y . - 6 0 -- 61 -A l b e e ' s t e c h n i q u e i n Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a WooIf? i s a g a i n t o use games t o undermine o t h e r games. T h i s t e c h n i q u e c a n be s e e n i n b o t h t h e development o f t h e c h a r a c t e r s ' r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h one a n o t h e r and i n t h e s t r u c t u r e o f t h e p l a y as a whole. A l t h o u g h t h e c h a r a c t e r s ; ; 0 f t e n use games t o escape a c o n f r o n t a t i o n w i t h r e a l i t y , t h e s e games sometimes " b a c k f i r e " - t o compel s u c h a c o n -f r o n t a t i o n , p a r t i c u l a r l y when t h e y a r e d i r e c t e d b y t h e e x p e r t game-p l a y e r , George. Because George i s u s u a l l y aware o f t h e games he p l a y s , h i s c o n t r o l o v e r them i s much s t r o n g e r t h a n t h a t o f t h e o t h e r c h a r a c t e r s o v e r t h e i r games. Thus,.he i s o f t e n a b l e t o m a n i p u l a t e t h e c h a r a c t e r s ' s e l f - p r o t e c t i v e games so t h a t t h e y become s e l f - d e s t r u c t i v e o n es, s h a t t e r i n g t h e i l l u s i o n s ( o r f a l s e s e l f ) t h e y have h e l p e d t o p e r p e t r a t e and f o r c i n g them t o l o o k t r u t h f u l l y a t t h e m s e l v e s and t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s . I r o n i c a l l y , t h e s e games t h e n become c o n s t r u c t i v e , f o r i n s h a t t e r i n g t h e c h a r a c t e r s ' i l l u s i o n s t h e y p r o v i d e a n awareness o f r e a l i t y t h a t w i l l h o p e f u l l y f o r m t h e b a s i s o f more s t a b l e and p r o d u c t i v e r e l a t i o n s h i p s . T h i s ' b a c k f i r i n g " o f t h e games becomes o b v i o u s t o b o t h c h a r a c t e r s and a u d i e n c e as t h e p l a y p r o g r e s s e s . "No more games,""': M a r t h a p l e a d s as she b e g i n s t o f e e l t h e d e s t r u c t i v e e f f e c t t h e games c a n have. L a t e r i n t h e p l a y , N i c k g a s p s " I t h i n k I u n d e r s t a n d t h i s " (p.236), r e c o g n i z i n g George's and M a r t h a ' s most p r i v a t e game — t h e p r e t e n s e t h a t t h e y have "Edward A l b e e , Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? (New Y o r k : P o c k e t B o o k s , I n c . , 1963), p.206. A l l subsequent r e f e r e n c e s a r e t o t h e same e d i t i o n . - 62 -a t w e n t y - y e a r o l d c h i l d — and t h e s i g n i f i c a n c e o f t h e " s o n ' s " d e a t h . I n Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? , as i n A l b e e ' s o n e - a c t p l a y s , t h e a u d i e n c e i s n e v e r a l l o w e d t o i n v o l v e i t s e l f f u l l y w i t h t h e s t a g e i l l u s i o n . The t y p i c a l drawing-room, drama i n i t i a l l y s u g g e s t e d by t h e r e a l i s t i c l i v i n g - r o o m s e t and t h e o p e n i n g d i a l o g u e o f George and M a r t h a i s soon undermined a s t h e e x a g g e r a t e d g a m e - p l a y i n g o f t h e c h a r a c t e r s e x t e n d s i t s e l f i n t o t h e f o r m o f t h e p l a y . A g a i n A l b e e works t o b l e n d t h e t e c h n i q u e s o f N a t u r a l i s t i c and A b s u r d t h e a t r e so t h a t a degree o f a e s t h e t i c d i s t a n c e i s d e v e l o p e d between a u d i e n c e and s t a g e . The e f f e c t , s i m i l a r t o t h a t o f The Zoo S t o r y , i s t h e s i m u l t a n e o u s r e s p o n s e t h a t a l l o w s t h e a u d i e n c e t o be b o t h i n v o l v e d and o b j e c t i v e a b o u t t h e e x p e r i e n c e i t i s h a v i n g . The d e a t h o f t h e " s o n " t h a t e x o r c i s e s t h e i l l u s i o n s t h a t c o n t r o l M a r t h a , N i c k and Honey, c l i m a x e s a p l a y t h a t h o p e f u l l y e x o r c i s e s many o f t h e a u d i e n c e ' s i l l u s i o n s a b o u t c o n t e m p o r a r y A m e r i c a n l i f e . - George's and M a r t h a ' s m y t h i c a l s o n r e p r e s e n t s 'The A m e r i c a n Dream w h i c h A l b e e f e e l s has become i l l u s o r y and h a r m f u l , t h e dream t h a t f o s t e r s t h e i l l u s i o n s o f f a m i l y u n i t y , i n d i v i d u a l i n t e g r i t y ' and s o c i a l h o n e s t y by i g n o r i n g t h e r e a l i t i e s o f f a m i l y d i s c o r d , i n d i v i d u a l i m p r o b i t y and s o c i a l h y p o c r i s y . The p l a y a n a t o m i z e s t h i s dream, a g a i n f o c u s i n g on t h e f a m i l y u n i t b u t p l a c i n g i t now w i t h i n a u n i v e r s i t y l o c a l e . George and M a r t h a t h u s become r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f t h e A m e r i c a n i n t e l l i g e n t s i a as w e l l as Mommy and Daddy o f t h e f a m i l y u n i t . - .63 -fThe s e x u a l p o l a r i t y i s s t i l l between t h e d o m i n e e r i n g woman and t h e e m a s c u l a t e d man, w i t h t h e s t e r i l i t y , v a c u i t y , a r t i f i c i a l i t y and v i o l e n c e t h a t marks t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p b e i n g p r e d o m i n a n t c o n c e r n s . The games t h e c h a r a c t e r s p l a y become more s u b t l e and more complex, b e f i t t i n g t h e i r academic s i t u a t i o n , b u t t h e y s t i l l r e f l e c t t h e same l e v e l o f a n i m a l i s m and t h e same d e s p e r a t e need f o r ' u n d e r s t a n d i n g and communication and t h e same f e a r o f r e j e c t i o n and p a i n t h a t u n d e r l y t h e games o f a l l A l b e e ' s p l a y s . The b a s i c s i t u a t i o n o f Who *s A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? i s a p a r t y , b u t i t i s a p a r t y w h i c h e v e n t u a l l y becomes a wake. George and M a r t h a , l o n g - t i m e r e s i d e n t s o f a s m a l l u n i v e r s i t y s o c i e t y , i n v i t e N i c k and Honey, newcomers t o the, s c e n e , t o c o n t i n u e a t t h e i r own home a p a r t y g i v e n b y Mart h a ' s f a t h e r . The p a r t y c o n t i n u e s t h r o u g h t h e n i g h t , w i t h t h e c o n s t a n t f l o w o f l i q u o r and c o n v e r s a t i o n q u i c k l y e a t i n g away t h e d e f e n s e s and i l l u s i o n s o f t h e foursome t o expose t h e f a c t s o f t h e i r e x i s t e n c e t o b o t h t h e m s e l v e s and t h e a u d i e n c e . As t h e p a r t y p r o g r e s s e s , t h e games George and Martha use t o s u p p o r t t h e i r m a r r i a g e become e n t a n g l e d w i t h t h o s e used b y N i c k and Honey t o s u p p o r t t h e i r s . E s s e n t i a l t o t h e s e games i s th e i l l u s i o n t h a t t h e m a r r i a g e i s somehow o t h e r t h a n i t i s : i n t h e ca s e o f George and M a r t h a , t h e i l l u s i o n i s t h a t t h e y have a c h i l d who g i v e s t h e i r m a r r i a g e meaning; i n N i c k and Honey's c a s e , t h e i l l u s i o n i s t h a t t h e i r m a r r i a g e i s base d on l o v e and mu t u a l r e s p e c t . I n b o t h c a s e s , t h e r e a l i t y o f t h e m a r r i a g e i s exposed so as t o f a c i l i t a t e a - 64 -g r o w t h t o awareness. I f t h e c h a r a c t e r s c o n t i n u e t o p l a y games and c r e a t e i l l u s i o n s , t h e y w i l l a t l e a s t do so w i t h f u l l u n d e r -s t a n d i n g o f t h e f a c t . A l b e e does n o t a d v o c a t e w i t h t h e e x o r c i s m t h e d i s p e l l i n g o f a l l i l l u s i o n and t h e end o f a l l g a m e - p l a y i n g ; r a t h e r , he d e m o n s t r a t e s t h e n e c e s s i t y f o r c o n t r o l l e d g a m e - p l a y i n g , f o r an i m a g i n a t i v e and c r e a t i v e use o f i l l u s i o n . Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a WooIf? i s d i v i d e d i n t o t h r e e a c t s w h i c h become s u c c e s s i v e l y s h o r t e r and more i n t e n s e . A c t One, "Fun and Games," s e t s up t h e s i t u a t i o n w h i c h g e n e r a t e s t h e c o n f l i c t s w h i c h i n t u r n c r e a t e suspense: b a s i c t o t h i s s i t u a t i o n i s t h e c h a r a c t e r s ' g a m e - p l a y i n g t h a t p r o p e l s t h e p l a y ' s a c t i o n . H a l f w a y t h r o u g h t h e a c t , George makes a comment t o N i c k w h i c h a l m o s t summarizes t h e a c t i o n o f A c t One. He say s "Martha and I a r e h a v i n g . . . n o t h i n g . M a r t h a and I a r e m e r e l y . . . e x e r c i s i n g . . . t h a t ' s a l l . . . w e ' r e m e r e l y w a l k i n g what's l e f t o f o u r w i t s " (p..34). As t h e A c t p r o g r e s s e s , t h e " e x e r c i s i n g " becomes i n c r e a s i n g l y v i c i o u s as George and M a r t h a ' s f e e l i n g s about e a c h o t h e r a r e r e v e a l e d . George has become a "bog" (p.50) i n t h e H i s t o r y Department., a f o l l o w e r i n s t e a d o f a l e a d e r . H i s l a c k o f a m b i t i o n and a g g r e s s i o n f r u s t r a t e s M a r t h a who f e e l s t h a t h e r p o s i t i o n as t h e P r e s i d e n t ' s d a u g h t e r demands t h a t h e r husband s u c c e e d b o t h s o c i a l l y and f i n a n c i a l l y . M a r t h a a l s o s u g g e s t s t h a t George i s " a f l o p " i n bed (p.189), h i s l a c k o f s e x u a l a g g r e s s i o n and d e s i r e l e a v i n g h e r u n s a t i s f i e d and d i s c o n t e n t , w h i c h i s why she must f l i r t and f o r n i c a t e w i t h o t h e r men. G r a d u a l l y , however, - 65 -as t h e p l a y p r o g r e s s e s and M a r t h a exposes more o f h e r b ackground and c h a r a c t e r , h e r a c c u s a t i o n s about George's s h o r t c o m i n g s emerge as r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n s x>f;• h e r own f a i l u r e s . George may have s h o r t c o m i n g s but he, a t l e a s t , a d m i t s them. M a r t h a d e l i b e r a t e l y i g n o r e s h e r f a i l u r e t o have a c h i l d (and t o f u l f i l l h e r s e l f as a woman), h i d i n g b e h i n d t h e i l l u s i o n t h a t she i s a n " E a r t h M o t h e r " ( p . 1 8 9 ) , and t h a t t h e i r c h i l d l e s s m a r r i a g e i s r e a l l y a l l George's f a u l t . T h i s s i t u a t i o n i s c o m p l i c a t e d by t h e i l l u s o r y s o n t h a t George and M a r t h a have dreamed up t o g i v e t h e i r m a r r i a g e some s o r t o f s u p p o r t . The game i n v o l v i n g t h e " s o n " has one d e f i n i t e r u l e * "he" must no t be m e n t i o n e d i n p u b l i c . When M a r t h a v i o l a t e s t h i s r u l e by d i s c u s s i n g t h e " s o n " w i t h Honey, she opens h e r s e l f and him t o a t t a c k . As E m i l Roy w r i t e s : "By r e v e a l i n g t h e ' e x i s t e n c e ' o f George's and h e r c h i l d t o a n o u t s i d e r , and t h e n t r y i n g t o p l a y t h e same game w i t h N i c k ('You be t h e f a t h e r , I ' l l be the m o t h e r ' ) , 2 she has r e l e a s e d George f r o m t h e r u l e s o f t h e game." George i s t h e n f r e e t o make up a new game a c c o r d i n g -to h i s own r u l e s . George's new game i n v o l v i n g h i s " s o n " emerges i n A c t Two, " W a l p u r g i s n a c h t , " i n w h i c h a l l t h e games i n c r e a s e i n i n t e n s i t y and s i g -n i f i c a n c e . The m a i n l y v e r b a l games o f A c t One now become p h y s i c a l and s e x u a l a c t s . M a r t h a and N i c k p e r f o r m a dance t h a t i m i t a t e s c o p u l a t i o n and t h e n r e t i r e t o t h e bedroom t o p e r f o r m t h e a c t . Honey p e r f o r m s a '"Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? and t h e T r a d i t i o n " , B u c k n e l l R e v i e w , XLTI, i , p.33. - 66 -dance o f s o l i t u d e and t h e n w i t h d r a w s t o t h e bathroom t o l i e on t h e t i l e s and suck h e r thumb. George a t t e m p t s t o s t r a n g l e M a r t h a and t h e n p l a n s t o murder t h e i r " s o n " i n s t e a d . A l l t h e c h a r a c t e r s a c t o u t t h e f a n t a s i e s t h e y have so f a r o n l y v e r b a l i z e d . I n o r d e r t o " w i n " o v e r M a r t h a and t o save h e r t e n u o u s g r a s p o f r e a l i t y , George c r e a t e s h i s new game a t the end o f t h e a c t , d e c i d i n g t o k i l l t h e i r " s o n 1 1 i n an a u t o m o b i l e a c c i d e n t . The a u d i e n c e , unsure o f t h e " s o n ' s " r e a l i t y up t o t h i s p o i n t , now r e a l i z e s he i s d e f i n i t e l y j u s t a game, a m o n s t r o u s i l l u s i o n George and M a r t h a have f a b r i c a t e d t o s o o t h e t h e i r own i n a d e q u a c i e s . T h i s f a c t i s n o t r e c o g n i z e d by Honey, however, who i s a l o n e w i t h George when he c o n c o c t s h i s new game. She, l i k e h e r husband, must w a i t u n t i l A c t Three t o d i s c o v e r t h i s l a r g e s t game o f a l l . The degree t o w h i c h t h e i l l u s i o n o f t h e son has u s u r p e d r e a l i t y and g a i n e d c o n t r o l o f M a r t h a i s r e a l i z e d i n A c t T h r e e , "The E x o r c i s m . " 1 Here, M a r t h a s u f f e r s George's news o f t h e d e a t h as t h e mother o f a r e a l c h i l d w o u l d . D o i n g s o , she d e m o n s t r a t e s t h e d e s t r u c t i v e e f f e c t a " b a c k f i r i n g " 1 game c a n p r o d u c e . A t t h e same time, : p a r t i c u l a r l y i n h e r q u i e t q u e s t i o n i n g a t t h e end o f t h e a c t , she s u g g e s t s t h e h o p e l e s s n e s s o f a l i f e d e v o i d of any i l l u s i o n . George r e e s t a b l i s h e s t h e awareness o f r e a l i t y t h a t he f e e l s M a r t h a needs f o r h e r s e l f - p r e s e r v a t i o n . A t t h e same t i m e , he p r o v i d e s t h e o t h e r c h a r a c t e r s w i t h t h e awareness t h a t t h e y need t o c o n s t r u c t a w o r k a b l e r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h r e a l i t y . Honey overcomes h e r f e a r o f c h i l d -b i r t h and t u r n s t o N i c k as a more mature woman, f o r s a k i n g h e r c h i l d - p a r e n t - 67 -r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h him. N i c k must f a c e t h e f a c t t h a t h i s w i f e knows h i s t r u e r e a s o n s f o r m a r r i a g e j u s t as she must f a c e the f a c t he knows h e r f a l s e o n e s . The c o u p l e q u i c k l y e x i t s , l e a v i n g George and M a r t h a t o • f a c e t h e r e a l i t y t h e y have so d e s p e r a t e l y t r i e d t o e s c a p e : t h e b a r r e n n e s s o f t h e i r m a r r i a g e and t h e ' e m p t i n e s s o f t h e i r l i v e s . Any new games t h a t t h e y p l a y , as w e l l as any new i l l u s i o n s t h e y d e v e l o p , w i l l be u s e d as. v e h i c l e s f o r managing t h e i r r e a l i t y , n o t a s s u b s t i t u t e s f o r i t . T h i s b r i e f a n a l y s i s m e r e l y i n d i c a t e s t h e c e n t r a l i m p o r t a n c e o f games and g a m e - p l a y i n g t o t h e p l a y ' s development and theme. F o r George and • M a r t h a , games have become t h e i r m a j o r f o r m o f i n t e r c o u r s e , " s u b s t i t u t e s f o r t h e r e a l l i v i n g o f r e a l i n t i m a c y . " 3 On t h e most s u p e r f i c i a l l e v e l a r e t h e games George and M a r t h a p l a y i n p u b l i c , t h e games o f s o c i a l d i s c o u r s e and a c t i o n w h i c h f o r m and s u p p o r t t h e p a t t e r n o f t h e i r d a i l y l i v e s . I n most c a s e s , George and M a r t h a a r e aware o f t h e s e s u p e r f i c i a l games and a r e a b l e t o manage them t o t h e i r a d v a n t a g e . M o r e o v e r , because t h e y p l a y t h e s e s o c i a l games so r e g u l a r l y , t h e y a r e a c u t e l y c o n s c i o u s o f them when t h e y a r e p l a y e d by o t h e r s , so much so t h a t t h e y o f t e n r i d i c u l e them as M a r t h a does when she i m i t a t e s Honey's "never m i x - n e v e r w o r r y " (p.23) and George when he p a r o d i e s N i c k ' s r e s p o n s e t o t h e p a i n t i n g ( p . 2 2 ) . E v e n t h e s e games, however, can grow t o o l a r g e and c a n e i t h e r g a i n c o n t r o l o f t h e g a m e - p l a y e r s o r become weapons u s e d t o a c h i e v e u l t e r i o r m o t i v e s . An o b v i o u s example here E r i c Berne> Games P e o p l e P l a y (New T o r k , 1964), p.18. - 68 -i s d r i n k i n g , a s o c i a l p a s t i m e t h a t t h e c o u p l e n o r m a l l y u s e s t o i t s ' advantage b u t w h i c h c o n t i n u a l l y t h r e a t e n s t o g a i n c o n t r o l o f them and w h i c h i s o f t e n u s e d as a weapon i n a t y p e o f p o w e r - p l a y t h a t has d e s t r u c t i v e p u r p o s e and r e s u l t s . F o r example,, when M a r t h a a s k s George f o r a n o t h e r d r i n k s h o r t l y a f t e r t h e p l a y b e g i n s , he says "my God, y o u ca n s w i l l i t down, c a n ' t y o u ? " She r e p l i e s , "Look, s w e e t h e a r t , I can d r i n k y o u under any goddamn t a b l e y o u want...so d o n ' t w o r r y about me" (p.16); t h e power p l a y e s c a l a t e s f r o m t h e r e , b r i n g i n g t h e c o u p l e ' s u n d e r -l y i n g h o s t i l i t i e s t o t h e s u r f a c e . T h i s movement f r o m s u p e r f i c i a l games t o games o f deeper and more s e r i o u s i m p o r t a n c e becomes a predominant p a t t e r n i n t h e p l a y and i s r e f l e c t e d i n t h e p l a y ' s o v e r a l l movement f r o m " f u n " t o " e x o r c i s m . " T h i s movement i s r e s p o n s i b l e f o r t h e g r a d u a l l y d e c r e a s i n g humour o f t h e p l a y . The i n i t i a l game o f n d m i c r y t h a t b e g i n s t h e p l a y — M a r t h a ' s i m p e r s o n a t i o n o f B e t t e D a v i s - e v e n t u a l l y becomes t h e " t o t a l war" (p.159) t h a t r e s u l t s i n "murder." The i r o n y o f t h e p l a y -w i t h i n - a - p l a y s t r u c t u r e t h a t i s j u s t s u g g e s t e d by M a r t h a ' s i m p e r s o n a t i o n o f t h e a c t r e s s c e a s e s t o be f u n n y as M a r t h a i m p e r s o n a t e s a mother whose i m a g i n a r y s o n i s k i l l e d b y a f a t h e r who p l a y s i n f a n t i c i d e . The e f f e c t o f t h e t r a d i t i o n a l l y comic d e v i c e becomes s a d , i f n o t t r a g i c , as t h e game g a i n s c o n t r o l o f t h e p l a y e r and as i l l u s i o n u s u r p s r e a l i t y . The games o f Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? c a n be r o u g h l y d i v i d e d i n t o t h r e e groups:, s u r f a c e games, p s y c h o l o g i c a l games and s e x u a l games. The s u r f a c e games m a i n l y c o n s i s t o f v e r b a l w i t t i c i s m s — sarcasm, puns, - 69 -euphemisms, a l l u s i o n s , " p r i v a t e j o k e s " ( p . 3 0 ) , a n e c d o t e s j rhymes, songs, r e p e a t e d p h r a s e s — and t h e d r a m a t i c games o f m i m i c r y and i m p e r s o n a t i o n ; t h e y i n v o l v e t h e s o c i a l games t h a t a l l f o u r c h a r a c t e r s p l a y and w h i c h , i n many c a s e s , e x a g g e r a t e t h e r i t u a l i z e d r e s p o n s e s and c l i c h e d a t t i t u d e s o f A A m e r i c a n s o c i e t y t h a t have l o n g s i n c e c e a s e d t o have any s i n c e r i t y o r meaning b e h i n d them. Games o f i m p e r s o n a t i o n and mi mi c r y become i m m e d i a t e l y o b v i o u s i n t h e p l a y . M a r t h a ' s i m p e r s o n a t i o n o f B e t t e D a v i s g i v e s way t o h e r m i m i c k i n g a c h i l d ( p . l 6 ) , a v e r b a l game she o f t e n p l a y s t h r o u g h o u t t h e p l a y . W i t h i n t h e f i r s t f ew moments o f t h e p l a y , M a r t h a a l s o q u o t e s n u r s e r y rhymes — " G e o r g i e - P o r g i e , p u t upon pie'.' ( p . 12) — and s i n g s t h e t i t l e song., "Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a Woolf?'', a word p l a y on t h e name o f t h e E n g l i s h n o v e l i s t and t h e song "Who's A f r a i d o f t h e B i g Bad W o l f ? " She a l s o i m i t a t e s Honey's p l a t i t u d e s soon a f t e r h e r a r r i v a l (p.23) j u s t as George i m i t a t e s , h e r g i g g l e ( p . 2 1 ) . George d i s g u i s e s h i s f r e q u e n t a t t i t u d e o f c o n d e s c e n s i o n by p u t t i n g on a p a r e n t a l tone w i t h N i c k ( p . 3 4 ) . A q u i c k g l a n c e a t A l b e e ' s d i r e c t i o n s t o t h e a c t o r s shows the degree t o w h i c h i m p e r -s o n a t i o n o f a n a t t i t u d e i s r e q u i r e d ! " f a l s e h e a r t i n e s s " ( p . 3 9 ) , " f e i g n e d  i n c r e d u l i t y " ( p . 3 9 ) , " f a l s e l y i n n o c e n t " ( p . 7 0 ) , " f e i g n e d d i s d a i n " ( p . 7 1 ) , " w i t h h i d e o u s l y f a l s e e n t h u s i a s m " ( p . 6 6 ) , "mock c o n c e r n " ( p . 2 1 5 ) , "mock awe" ( p . 2 2 3 ) . O t h e r d i r e c t i o n s A l b e e g i v e s r e i n f o r c e t h e g a m e - p l a y i n g t h a t s u c h language-develops» " S t r e t c h i n g . . . l u x u r i a t i n g . . . p l a y i n g t h e game" (p.112) and " p l a y i n g a l o n g " (p*113) a r e two exam p l e s . These d r a m a t i c games w h i c h i n v o l v e r o l e - p l a y i n g and assuming a pose r e a c h t h e i r h e i g h t when the c h a r a c t e r s - 70 -o p e n l y acknowledge t h e i r r o l e - p l a y i n g b y a c t u a l i m p e r s o n a t i o n . M a r t h a ' s " B e t t e D a v i s " i s t h e b e s t example b u t George's "messenger" ( w i t h s p e e c h r e m i n i s c e n t o f M a r l o n Brando i n On t h e W a t e r f r o n t ) as w e l l a s h i s " p r i e s t " a r e two o t h e r s . I n a d d i t i o n , George and M a r t h a ' s v a u d e v i l l e - t y p e r e n d i t i o n o f "I'm Nobody's Houseboy Now" ( p . 1 9 6 ) i s s t i l l a n o t h e r t y p e o f d r a m a t i c gamej so i s Honey's i n t e r p r e t i v e d a n c i n g . The dance t h a t M a r t h a and N i c k p e r f o r m i m i t a t e s c o p u l a t i o n and t h e r e f o r e f i t s i n t o t h i s c a t e g o r y as w e l l . The most o b v i o u s v e r b a l game i n t h e p l a y i s sarcasm, b e g i n n i n g e a r l y and c o n t i n u i n g t o t h e end. J u s t a g l a n c e a t t h e f i r s t f ew pages o f t h e p l a y shows i t s p r e d o m i n e n c e j f o r example, n o t e t h e f o l l o w i n g j i b e s w h i c h George d i r e c t s a t M a r t h a : " W e l l t h a t was b e f o r e my t i m e . . . " ( p . 5 ) j "What d i d t h e y do...go home and g e t some s l e e p f i r s t . . . " ( p . l l ) j "He's a god..." ( p . 2 6 ) . One o f t h e most o b v i o u s and f r e q u e n t u s e s o f sarcasm i n t h e p l a y i s G e o r g e 1 s c o n t i n u a l r e f e r e n c e t o M a r t h a a s " A n g e l " and h e r r e f e r e n c e t o him as "Lov e t f ' p n e i t h e r c h a r a c t e r d e s e r v e s the e p i t h e t , M a r t h a b e i n g f a r f r o m a n g e l i c i n h e r speech and a c t i o n s and George b e i n g i a r removed f r o m t h e t y p i c a l l o v e r . The use o f euphemisms i n t h e p l a y a l s o c o n t r i b u t e s t o v e r b a l g a m e - p l a y i n g . M a r t h a ' s use o f t h e words " f l o p " and " p o t e n t i a l " ( p . 1 8 8 ) r e f e r s t o N i c k ' s p e n i s and s e x u a l p e r f o r m a n c e . The euphemisms t h a t George and M a r t h a use f o r t h e i r son i n c l u d e " t h e a p p l e o f our e y e , " " t h e s p r o u t , " "you-know-what" and " t h e l i t t l e b u gger" ( p . 8 3 ) , the l a t t e r t e r m b e i n g a n - 71 -i r o n i c comment on t h e " s o n 1 s " f i n a l e f f e c t o f t h e m a r r i a g e . The use o f euphemisms i s even o p e n l y acknowledged e a r l y i n the p l a y when George c a l l s t h e t o i l e t " t h e euphemism" ( p . 2 9 ) . A l l t h e s e v e r b a l games, as w e l l as many more, combine t o f o r m much o f t h e humor i n t h e f i r s t p a r t o f t h e p l a y as w e l l as t o keep i t moving a t a q u i c k and e n e r g e t i c p a c e . M o r e o v e r , because t h e y u s u a l l y mask u n d e r l y i n g emotions and c o n f l i c t s w h i c h a r e i n o p p o s i t i o n t o t h e i r s u r f a c e meaning, t h e y o f t e n produce i r o n y as t h e y expose d e e p e r p s y c h o l o g i c a l and s e x u a l .games. The p s y c h o l o g i c a l and s e x u a l games p l a y e d i n Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a  WooIf?' a r e o f t e n r e l a t e d . P s y c h o l o g i c a l games s u c h as t h e p o w e r - p l a y m e n t i o n e d above — a t y p e o f "oneupmanship" — as w e l l a s games l i k e " H u m i l i a t e t h e H o s t " (p.138) and "Get t h e G u e s t s " ( p . 1 4 0 ) , a r e u s u a l l y p l a y e d v e r b a l l y , t h e game-player o f t e n u s i n g a n e c d o t e s t o g a i n h i s p o i n t s ; f o r example, M a r t h a ' s s t o r y o f t h e b o x i n g match (pp.55-57) and George's a c c o u n t o f h i s "second n o v e l " (pp.142-147) a r e b o t h s t o r i e s t o l d f o r d e s t r u c t i v e e f f e c t . A n o t h e r t y p e o f p s y c h o l o g i c a l game i n v o l v e s t h e p a r e n t - c h i l d r e l a t i o n s h i p s w h i c h t h e c h a r a c t e r s sometimes a c t o u t and w h i c h a r e a g a i n exposed by v e r b a l games; h e r e t h e c h a r a c t e r s i m i t a t e c h i l d r e n ' s s p e e ch and a c t i o n s , l i k e M a r t h a when she a c t s as a p a r e n t (p.15) and t h e n as a c h i l d ( p . l 6 ) . E s s e n t i a l t o t h e s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s i s t h e p l a y i n g o f a r o l e , about w h i c h Berne w r i t e s : "A r o l e i s something l i k e what Jun g c a l l s p e r s o n a , e x c e p t t h a t i t i s l e s s o p p o r t u n i s t i c and more d e e p l y r o o t e d i n t h e i n d i v i d u a l ' s - 73 -r e l a t i o n s h i p i s o v e r t l y r e c o g n i z e d i n A c t Two when M a r t h a a c c u s e s George o f m a r r y i n g h e r so t h a t she c o u l d h u m i l i a t e him and " t e a r him a p a r t " ( p . 1 5 2 ) . I n t h e s e x u a l games, and w i t h most o f t h e p s y c h o l o g i c a l o n es, t h e game-player's c o n t r o l o f t h e game i s e x t r e m e l y t e n u o u s . I n some c a s e s , s u c h as M a r t h a ' s i n v o l v e m e n t i n t h e " F a m i l y " game, i t i s n o n e x i s t e n t . As George says t o M a r t h a i n A c t Twos "...You've moved bag and baggage i n t o y o u r own f a n t a s y w o r l d now, and you've s t a r t e d p l a y i n g v a r i a t i o n s on y o u r own d i s t o r t i o n s . . * " ( p . 1 5 5 ) . I t i s games s u c h as t h e s e w h i c h have become h a r m f u l i n t h e i r c o n f u s i o n o f i l l u s i o n and reality. I t i s games such as t h e s e , games i n w h i c h t h e game-player has l o s t s i g h t o f h i s m o t i v e s and check o f h i s moves, t h a t must be ended so t h a t he o r she c a n r e g a i n a g r a s p o n r e a l i t y , a n awareness o f i l l u s i o n , and a c o n t r o l o f f u t u r e games. T h i s c l a s s i f i c a t i o n o f games i n Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? i s h e l p f u l i n e x a m i n i n g t h e c h a r a c t e r s ' m o t i v e s i n t h e p l a y . Why do t h e c h a r a c t e r s p l a y games a t a l l ? The answer, w h i c h s h o u l d now be emer g i n g , i s f o r d e f e n s i v e and o f f e n s i v e r e a s o n s . On t h e d e f e n s i v e s i d e , t h e c h a r a c t e r s use games t o c r e a t e and s u p p o r t i l l u s i o n s w h i c h h e l p them t o escape t h e r e a l i t i e s o f t h e i r l i v e s : s u c h games and i l l u s i o n s , when t h e y a re c o n d o u s l y c o n c e i v e d and p l a y e d , c a n be b e n e f i c i a l and even n e c e s s a r y i n t h a t t h e y h e l p t h e game-players t o communicate more f u l l y . G e n e r a l l y , t h e s e d e f e n s i v e games a r e s u r f a c e o nes, h a v i n g r u l e s a c c e p t e d and known t o ' t h e game-players whom t h e y d e f e n d and u n i t e . O f t e n t h e s e games a r e repeated,-- 72 -f a n t a s i e s . 1 1 7 * The e x t e n t t o w h i c h t h e r o l e c a n be dominated by f a n t a s y c a n be seen i n M a r t h a ' s "Mommy" and George's "Daddy," b o t h b e i n g r o l e s p l a y e d i n t h e " F a m i l y " game t h a t i n v o l v e s t h e i l l u s o r y s o n . I n t h i s case,• M a r t h a ' s b e l i e f i n h e r r o l e has become much g r e a t e r t h a n George's b e l i e f i n h i s , j u s t as h e r awareness o f t h e game has become much l e s s . F o r t h i s r e a s o n , George i s a b l e t o k i l l t h e " s o n " and t e r m i n a t e h i s r o l e w i t h l e s s p a i n t o h i m s e l f . I t i s s i g n i f i c a n t h e r e t h a t George f i n i s h e s ' one r o l e by d o n n i n g a n o t h e r j t h a t i s , he abandons, t h e r o l e o f " f a t h e r " (as p a r e n t ) o n l y t o assume th e r o l e o f " f a t h e r " l^s I p r i e s t ) . R o l e - p l a y i n g a l s o f o r m s t h e c o r e o f t h e c h i l d - p a r e n t r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n t h e p l a y a n d , i s o f t e n s u g g e s t e d by, moves and a c t i o n s as much as by words. Honey's thumb-sucking and f o e t a l p o s i t i o n on t h e bathroom f l o o r , f o r example, r e v e a l the r o l e she p r e f e r s t o p l a y w i t h N i c k , as does her g e n e r a l a t t i t u d e t owards him. These r o l e s a r e i n t u r n r e l a t e d , t o and a c c o u n t f o r much o f t h e s e x u a l g a m e - p l a y i n g i n t h e p l a y . M a r t h a t h e " E a r t h M o t h e r " (p.189) i s a s e x u a l pose l i k e N i c k ' s sbance as a 1 p o w e r f u l young a t h l e t e ; b o t h r o l e s p r o v i d e m o t i v a t i o n f o r t h e s e x u a l games o f s e d u c t i o n and i n t e r c o u r s e . w h i c h , a g a i n , a r e o f t e n c l o a k e d i n v e r b a l euphemisms and a l l u s i o n s . .George even names such s e x u a l games when he r e f e r s t o " m u s i c a l b eds" (p.34) and "Hump t h e H o s t e s s " (p.139). The s a d o - m a s o c h i s t i c r e l a t i o n s h i p o f George and M a r t h a a l s o r e p r e s e n t s a t y p e o f r o l e - p l a y i n g t h a t has a s e x u a l b a s i s . T h i s 4-Berne, p.45. - 74 -so r e g u l a r l y t h a t t h e y become r i t u a l s i n w h i c h a c t i o n s and c o u n t e r -a c t i o n s a r e e x p e c t e d ^ F o r example, n e a r t h e b e g i n n i n g o f t h e p l a y , George s a y s t o M a r t h a a b o u t t h e ' T h i r t i e s ^ m u s i c a l C h i c a g o , " W e l l , t h a t was p r o b a b l y b e f o r e my time... 1. 1 M a r t h a , who i s i n v o l v e d a t the moment w i t h h e r i m p e r s o n a t i o n o f B e t t e D a v i s , does n o t w i s h t o p l a y t h e game a b o u t h e r age t h a t George has j u s t begun and t h e r e f o r e r e p l i e s "Can i t ! J u s t c u t t h a t o u t " ( p . 6 ) , A. s h o r t w h i l e l a t e r , however, George b e g i n s t h i s game a g a i n , s a y i n g t o M a r t h a " I suppose i t ' s p r e t t y r e m a r k a b l e . . . c o n s i d e r i n g how o l d y o u a r e " ( p . 1 4 ) . H e r e , M a r t h a a g a i n r e p l i e s "You c u t t h a t o u t , " b u t , a f t e r a p a u s e , p i c k s up t h e game, s a y i n g "You're n o t so young y o u r s e l f . " The game c o n t i n u e s : GEORGE: ( W i t h b o y i s h p l e a s u r e . . . a c h a n t ) : I'm s i x y e a r s younger t h a n y o u a r e . . . I a l w a y s have been and a l w a y s w i l l be. MARTHA: ( G l u m l y ) ; W e l l . . . y o u ' r e g o i n g b a l d . GEORGE: So a r e y o u . ( P a u s e . . . t h e y b o t h l a u g h ) H e l l o , Honey, (p.15) George's and M a r t h a ' s u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h i s game and t h e r o v e s i t r e q u i r e s makes i t a p l e a s u r a b l e game f o r them t o p l a y . They a r e i n c o n t r o l o f i t and, d e s p i t e i t s s l i g h t l y c o m p e t e t i v e u n d e r t o n e , i t b i n d s them t o g e t h e r i n a n a l m o s t t e n d e r way. George c o n t i n u e s t h e game w i t h " b o y i s h p l e a s u r e , " h t s - c h a n t i n g o f h i s l i n e s i n d i c a t i n g a known and r e p e a t e d r e s p o n s e i n a d d i t i o n t o e s t a b l i s h i n g h i s c h i l d l i k e p o l a r i t y w i t h M a r t h a . S i g n i f i -c a n t l y , M a r t h a ' s l i n e f o l l o w i n g t h i s game i s "C'mon o v e r h e r e and g i v e - 75 -y o u r Mommy a b i g s l o p p y k i s s " ( p . 1 5 ) . T h i s l i n e p l a y s on t h e t e n d e r a f f e c t i o n t h a t t h e game hasjgenerated a t t h e same t i m e t h a t i t r e i n f o r c e s t h e c h i l d - p a r e n t r e l a t i o n s h i p . The game, b e i n g u n d e r -s t o o d and c o n t r o l l e d by t h e g a m e - p l a y e r s , b i n d s them t o g e t h e r and s u p p o r t s t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p . I n t he d i a l o g u e f o l l o w i n g t h i s game, however, George f a i l s t o r e s p o n d t o M a r t h a ' s demands and t h e s u r f a c e d e f e n s i v e game t h a t has u n i t e d t h e two g i v e s way t o d e e p e r p s y c h o l o g i c a l games i n w h i c h M a r t h a ' s s e x u a l needs and George's i n a d e q u a c i e s a r e b r o u g h t i n t o p l a y a g a i n s t e a c h o t h e r . The p a t t e r n o f s u r f a c e games d e v e l o p i n g i n t o deeper games i s t h u s p a r a l l e l e d b y a p a t t e r n i n w h i c h d e f e n s i v e moves become o f f e n s i v e ones and i n w h i c h the c h a r a c t e r s l o s e c o n t r o l o f t h e i r e m o t i o n s . When George f a i l s t o r e s p o n d t o M a r t h a ' s demand f o r a k i s s ( a demand w h i c h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f h e r g e n e r a l s e x u a l demands and r e j e c t i o n s ) and d r o p s h i s b o y i s h p o s e , M a r t h a becomes u p s e t — "Why don't you want t o k i s s me?" George answers i n a s h o r t s p e e c h heavy w i t h s a rcasm. W i t h i n a few l i n e s , M a r t h a has s w i t c h e d h e r r o l e s t o become a c h i l d ("I'm f i r s t y " ) and, s t i l l l a c k i n g t h e d e s i r e d r e s p o n s e , b e g i n s t o p l a y more v i c i o u s l y . The e p i s o d e q u i c k l y grows o u t o f hand as t h e two l o s e c o n t r o l o f t h e game and f a l l p r e y t o t h e i r u n d e r l y i n g f e e l i n g s o f c o m p e t i t i o n and h o s t i l i t y . The d o o r - b e l l r i n g s and M a r t h a and George speak t o e a c h o t h e r " m u r d e r o u s l y " ( p . 1 7 ) . M a r t h a d i s c l o s e s h e r d o m i n e e r i n g n a t u r e and o r d e r s George t o answer t h e d o o r ; i n i t i a l l y he r e f u s e s h u t e v e n t u a l l y he obeys. D o i n g s o , he a d o p t s - 76 -th e m a s o c h i s t i c "houseboy" r o l e w h i c h , i n many ways, he c o n t i n u e s f o r the r e s t o f t h e a c t and w h i c h M a r t h a l a t e r t r i e s t o impose upon N i c k ( p . 1 9 3 ) . A t t h e same t i m e , however, George s m i l e s s l i g h t l y and seems t o have some r e s e r v e power, as w e l l a s a f e a r o f M a r t h a ' s m e n t a l s t a b i l i t y ; he s a y s " J u s t d o n ' t s t a r t on t h e b i t , t h a t ' s a l l " , ( p . 1 8 ) , and t h e l a r g e s t game o f a l l i s i n t r o d u c e d . W i t h t h i s i n t r o d u c t i o n , t h e movement f r o m p u b l i c s u r f a c e games t o p r i v a t e p s y c h o l o g i c a l ones i s c o m p l e t e , w i t h s e x u a l r o l e - p l a y i n g h a v i n g d e v e l o p e d i n t h e p r o g r e s s i o n . M o v i n g t o p r o t e c t t h e i r own s e x u a l and e m o t i o n a l needs, t h e c h a r a c t e r s have l o s t t h e t e n d e r n e s s w h i c h m o m e n t a r i l y u n i t e d them and have u n l e a s h e d t h e a n t a g o n i s m s and t h e game w h i c h w i l l p u s h them a p a r t . "The b i t about t h e k i d " ( p . l 8 ) , M a r t h a and George's most p r i v a t e game, i s t h e most i r o n i c and dangerous game i n t h e p l a y ; i t i s t h e r e f o r e f i t t i n g t h a t i t i s t h e game w h i c h a l w a y s ends the g a m e - p l a y i n g p a t t e r n s . B e i n g t h e most i m p o r t a n t game t o George and M a r t h a , •"Family" i s t h e i n e v i t a b l e c l i m a x o f t h e i r p o w e r - p l a y s ; t h e i r " s o n " i s t h e f i n a l p o s s i b l e weapon e a c h c a n use a g a i n s t t h e o t h e r , t h e "goddamn c l u b " t o w h i c h George r e f e r s i n A c t Three ( p . 2 2 5 ) . The i r o n y i n h e r e n t i n t h i s game i s t h a t i t was d e v e l o p e d as a d e f e n s i v e game t h a t would u n i t e t h e c o u p l e and s u p p o r t t h e i r m a r r i a g e , n o t as an o f f e n s i v e game t h a t c o u l d be u s e d t o b r e a k them a p a r t . I t s change i n n a t u r e and purpose s u g g e s t s t h e c o n s t a n t need f o r a n awareness o f games and o f t h e r e a s o n s f o r t h e i r e x i s t e n c e , O n l y w i t h s u c h an awareness c a n t h e game-players c o n s t r u c t i v e l y u s e t h e games t o - 7 7 -cope w i t h r e a l i t y . G ame-playing i n Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a WooIf? l e a d s f i n a l l y t o a p a i n f u l awareness o f r e a l i t y f o r a l l t h e c h a r a c t e r s . L i k e J e r r y i n The Zoo S t o r y o r the Nurse i n The D e a t h o f B e s s i e S m i t h , t h e c h a r a c t e r s must now l e a r n t o cope w i t h t h e i r l i v e s and r e l a t i o n -s h i p s , a c c e p t i n g t h e f a c t s o f t h e i r e x i s t e n c e . The c r e a t i o n o f new games and i l l u s i o n s a s v e h i c l e s f o r d e a l i n g w i t h r e a l i t y i s a p o s s i b l e c o u r s e o f a c t i o n . What i s n e c e s s a r y i s t h a t t h e c h a r a c t e r s f i n d games w o r t h p l a y i n g : t h a t i s , c o n s t r u c t i v e and c r e a t i v e games w h i c h d e f e n d l i f e and c o m m u n i c a t i o n . The s e a r c h f o r s u c h games i s n o t e a s y , b u t t h e awareness o f t h e r e a l i t y w h i c h n e c e s s i t a t e s s u c h games i s , i n i t s e l f , a m e a n i n g f u l s t e p t o w a r d s them. I n c o n s i d e r i n g t h e games p l a y e d between a l l t h e c h a r a c t e r s i n "Who's  A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? and n o t j u s t between George and M a r t h a , d e f e n s i v e and o f f e n s i v e m o t i v e s a g a i n become c l e a r . Between t h e c o u p l e s , d e f e n s i v e games a r e t h o s e w h i c h u n i t e one c o u p l e a g a i n s t t he o t h e r and o f f e n s i v e games a r e t h o s e w h i c h a t t e m p t t o b r e a k up t h e u n i t y o f t h e o t h e r c o u p l e . O b v i o u s l y ''Get t h e Gu®ts" i s an o f f e n s i v e game5 s o , i n a more i n d i r e c t way, i s "Hump t h e H o s t e s s . " A l t h o u g h t h e s e games a r e o f t e n p l a y e d f o r s e l f i s h r e a s o n s , t h e y do sometimes, a s i n t h e case o f "Get t h e G u e s t s , " have bene-f i c i a l r e s u l t s i n h e r e n t t o w h i c h i s t h e s h a t t e r i n g o f o u t - o f - h a n d i l l u s i o n s . G e n e r a l l y , t h e p a t t e r n o f movement f r o m s u r f a c e games t o deeper s e x u a l and p s y c h o l o g i c a l games i s adh e r e d t o as one c o u p l e o r c h a r a c t e r s t r i k e s a g a i n s t t h e o t h e r . F o r example, t h e s o c i a l games t h a t N i c k and Honey a t t e m p t t o - 78 -p l a y upon a r r i v i n g a t George and M a r t h a ' s , games t h e y use t o s u p p o r t t h e m s e l v e s i n t h e new s i t u a t i o n , a r e undermined by George and M a r t h a ' s o f f e n s i v e moves. George's p a r o d y o f N i c k ' s r e a c t i o n t o t h e p o i n t i n g and M a r t h a ' s i m i t a t i o n o f Honey's p l a t i t u d e s d i s c o n c e r t s t h e g u e s t s so t h a t t h e y t r y even h a r d e r t o i n t e g r a t e t h e m s e l v e s w i t h t h e i r h o s t s j t h e y e x p r e s s a s e r i e s o f r e a c t i o n s t o M a r t h a ' s f a t h e r and h i s p a r t y (pp.25-26) w h i c h , b e s i d e s s o u n d i n g a r t i f i c i a l , l u c k i l y ( f o r them) a g g r a v a t e t h e r i f t between George and M a r t h a and r e t u r n t h e i r h o s t s t o t h e i r own games. George t h e n a t t e m p t s t o w i n N i c k t o h i s s i d e b u t , h a v i n g a l r e a d y r i d i c u l e d h i m , f a i l s . M a r t h a , u s i n g Honey's r e a c t i o n t o h e r f a t h e r t o s u p p o r t h e r own ego, p i c k s up h e r r o l e as h o s t e s s — " I want t o show you t h e h o u se" ( p . 2 9 ) . She e v e n s u p p l i e s Honey w i t h a euphemism ("wash up") i n t h e f a c e o f George's d e r i s i o n . Thus t h e games o f o f f e n c e t h a t George and M a r t h a have aimed a t N i c k and Honey r e v e r s e t h e m s e l v e s t o d i v i d e George and M a r t h a . M a r t h a e x i t s w i t h Honey, s a y i n g t o George, "you b u r n me u p " ( p . 2 9 ) , l e a v i n g him a l o n e w i t h N i c k whom he has a l r e a d y a l i e n a t e d . The s u r f a c e games o f c o n d e s c e n s i o n and d e r i s i o n t h a t George has aimed a t N i c k and Honey he c o n t i n u e s t o p l a y when a l o n e w i t h N i c k . He a s k s N i c k "What made y o u d e c i d e t o be a t e a c h e r " ( p . 3 1 ) ? N i c k r e p l i e s "Oh... wei-l - j r-the same t h i n g s t h a t . . . u h . . . m o t i v a t e d you,. I i m a g i n e . " George c o u n t e r s w i t h "What were t h e y ? " and undermines N i c k ' s empty answer. When N i c k t r i e s t o a c t c o n d e s c e n d i n g l y i n r e t u r n , George s t o p s s u c h a c t i o n w i t h - 79 -"Don't you condescend t o m e i " (p.32) He c o n t i n u e s t o t o y with. N i c k u n t i l t h e young man r e b e l s , s a y i n g i A l l r i g h t . . . w h a t do y o u want me t o s a y ? Do y o u want me t o s a y i t ' s f u n n y , so y o u c a n c o n t r a d i c t me and s a y i t ' s sad? o r do y o u want me t o s a y i t ' s sad so you c a n t u r n around and s a y no, i t ' s f u n n y . Tou c a n p l a y t h a t damn l i t t l e game anyway y o u want t o , y o u knowI ( p . 3 3 ) • T h i s s p e e c h i s i m p o r t a n t f o r , b e s i d e s b e i n g t h e f i r s t o v e rt, r e c o g -n i t i o n o f g a m e - p l a y i n g i n t h e p l a y , i t c l e a r l y e s t a b l i s h e s N i c k as a p e r s o n aware o f s u r f a c e games. When i n A c t Three he says o f George and M a r t h a " H e l l , I d o n ' t know when you p e o p l e a r e l y i n g , o r what" ( p . 2 0 0 ) , he shows t h e degree t o w h i c h the games have changed s i n c e A c t One and ' t o w h i c h i l l u s i o n has become c o n f u s e d w i t h r e a l i t y . A t t h i s p o i n t i n A c t T h r e e , t h e games have r e a c h e d t h e i r d e e p e s t , most p r o b i n g l e v e l , a f a c t w h i c h George r e c o g n i z e s when he s a y s t o N i c k , " T r u t h o r i l l u s i o n . Who knows t h e d i f f e r e n c e , e h , t o o t s ? E h ? " (p«20l) The. q u e s t i o n i s i r o n i c f o r George has a l r e a d y a b l y d e m o n s t r a t e d t h a t he knows t h e d i f f e r e n c e , , h a v i n g u s e d t h e s t o r y o f h i s i l l u s o r y second n o v e l — a s t o r y w h i c h relates t h e i l l u s i o n s s u r r o u n d i n g N i c k and Honey's wedding — as a means o f p l a y i n g "Get t h e G u e s t s ? and e x p o s i n g t h e t r u t h about t h e i r m a r r i a g e . N i c k ' s a b i l i t y t o p l a y s u r f a c e games i s no m a t c h f o r George's a b i l i t y t o p l a y games on a l l l e v e l s and s t i l l t o r e t a i n h i s g r a s p o f r e a l i t y . As George s a y s , "I'm r u n n i n g t h i s show" ( p . 2 2 9 ) ; he i s i n command o f N i c k and Honey - 80 -f r o m t h e moment t h e y a r r i v e and, a l t h o u g h i t i s n o t i m m e d i a t e l y e v i d e n t , he i s e q u a l l y i n c o n t r o l o f M a r t h a , t h e " o r i g i n a l g a m e - g i r l 1 1 • ( p . 2 0 7 ) . George i s a b l e t o m a n i p u l a t e i l l u s i o n so as t o expose r e a l i t y and i s a b l e t o p l a y games so t h a t t h e y s e r v e h i s ends. He i s t h e o n l y c h a r a c t e r i n t h e p l a y who wi n s m a j o r s u c c e s s e s o v e r a l l t h e o t h e r c h a r a c t e r s . The games p l a y e d between the f o u r c h a r a c t e r s i n Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? become more i m p o r t a n t i n A c t Two i n w h i c h t h e c o n f l i c t s e s t a b l i s h e d i n A c t One f i n d p h y s i c a l e x p r e s s i o n and r e l e a s e . The games a r e c l i m a x e d h e r e by "Hump t h e H o s t e s s " and "Get t h e G u e s t s . " George's p a r t i n t h e g a m e - p l a y i n g becomes more and more p r e d o m i n a n t as " H u m i l i a t e t h e H o s t " i s aimed a t him, "Get t h e G u e s t s " i s i n v e n t e d by him and "Hump t h e H o s t e s s " i s aimed a t h i s r e h u m i l i a t i o n . " B r i n g i n g up Baby" i n A c t Three i s t h e f i n a l game w h i c h George i n i t i a t e s and i t c o n s t i t u t e s h i s f i n a l "wint']'-r I n a l l t h e s e games George i s t h e o n l y c h a r a c t e r who i s a b l e t o r e t a i n a r e a l i s t i c p e r s p e c t i v e and who, i n some c a s e s , acknowledges h i s m o t i v e s and a i m s . I n A c t Two, f o r example, a f t e r l i s t e n i n g t o N i c k ' s a c c o u n t o f h i s m a r r i a g e t o Honey, George says You r e a l i z e , o f c o u r s e , t h a t I ' v e been d r a w i n g y ou o u t on t h i s s t u f f , n o t b e -cause I'm i n t e r e s t e d i n your- t e r r i b l e l i f e h o o d , b u t o n l y because y o u r e p r e -s e n t a d i r e c t and p e r t i n e n t t h r e a t t o my l i f e h o o d , and I want t o g e t t h e goods on y o u . ( p . I l l ) - 81 -L a t e r he says "1 mean...I've warned you...you s t a n d warned" (p.111). A^has, George l a y s t h e g r o u n d - r u l e s f o r t h e game o f "Get t h e G u e s t s " ( t h a t e v e n t u a l l y e n s u e s . He i n v i t e s d e f e n s i v e a c t i o n , so t o speak^ i n h i s a t t a c k on t h e g u e s t s j s u c h a c t i o n makes t h e game more m e a n i n g f u l , as w e l l a s p o s s i b l e , f o r i t i n v a r i a b l y e x p o s e s new weaknesses t h a t c a n be e x p l o i t e d i n combat. F o r t h e same r e a s o n , George p r o d s M a r t h a t o anger b e f o r e he b e g i n s t h e f i n a l game o f " B r i n g i n g up Baby." As he s a y s , "An e q u a l b a t t l e , baby; t h a t ' s a l l " (p.209). I n t h e case o f t h e e a r l i e r game) N i c k o f f e r s l i t t l e r e s i s t a n c e beyond a p l e a d i n g " P l e a s e . . . p l e a s e d o n ' t (p.145) and "Why?" (p.146) Honey, who i s do m i n a t e d b y t h e i l l u s i o n t h a t h e r husband m a r r i e d h e r f o r l o v e and n o t because o f h e r h y s t e r i c a l p r e g n a n c y and w e a l t h , i r o n i c a l l y pushes George t o r e l a t e t h e p l o t o f h i s / " s econd n o v e l . " C o m p l e t e l y unaware o f the.game, she i s c o m p l e t e l y v u l n e r a b l e . As she comes t o r e a l i z e t h a t t h e woman o f t h e s t o r y i s r e a l l y h e r s e l f , she i s f o r c e d t o r e c a l l h e r p a s t and t o f a c e t h e f a c t t h a t N i c k has d i v u l g e d t h e f a c t s o f t h e i r m a r r i a g e t o n e a r - s t r a n g e r s . Her i l l u s i o n s , p a s t and p r e s e n t , a r e t h u s exposed t o p u b l i c and h e r r e a l i t y - c o n f r o n t a t i o n p r o v o k e d . I t i s s i g n i f i c a n t t h a t she q u i c k l y e x i t s t h e room i n a s t a t e o f p a n i c ; t h e f o e t a l p o s i t i o n she assumes on t h e bathroom f l o o r s u g g e s t s h e r f i n a l a t t e m p t t o w i t h d r a w f r o m r e a l i t y and t o e scape back t o t h e s e c u r i t y and p r o t e c t i o n o f t h e womb. N i c k , r e a l i z i n g t h e e x t e n t t o w h i c h George w i l l c a r r y h i s o f f e n s i v e games and the degree t o w h i c h he i s m a s t e r o f them says s i m p l y "You s h o u l d n ' t have done t h a t . . . y o u s h o u l d n ' t have done t h a t a t a l l " ( p. I 4 8 ) . The game has had a d e s t r u c t i v e e f f e c t , p r o b i n g r b e n e a t h t h e e x t e r i o r o f N i c k and Honey's m a r r i a g e t o expose Honey's f e a r s and i l l u s i o n s a l o n g w i t h N i c k ' s o p p o r t u n i s m . George answers N i c k ' s s t a t e m e n t w i t h a c u r t " I h a t e h y p o c r i s y . 1 " George's s t a t e m e n t t o N i c k b r i n g s up a q u e s t i o n w h i c h i s c e n t r a l t o t h e whole p l a y : what a r e George's m o t i v e s f o r p l a y i n g "Get t h e G u e s t s " and " B r i n g i n g up Baby," t h e two most i m p o r t a n t games i n t h e p l a y ? O b v i o u s l y George's l o a t h i n g o f h y p o c r i s y i s n o t t h e o n l y r e a s o n he p l a y s "Get t h e G u e s t s " ; he i s , , i n p a r t , r e t a l i a t i n g f o r t h e i r p l a y i n g " H u m i l i a t e t h e H o s t . " A l t h o u g h t h e r e s u l t s o f "Get t h e G u e s t s " a r e u l t i m a t e l y p o s i t i v e , i n t h a t t h e d i s p e l l i n g o f i l l u s i o n s p r e p a r e s t h e way f o r a more p r o d u c t i v e and h o n e s t m a r r i a g e between N i c k and Honey^ t h i s p o s i t i v e r e s u l t i s p r o b a b l y n o t George's i n t e n t . H i s game o f o f f e n c e i s more p r o b a b l y p l a y e d t o d e f e n d h i s own p r i d e w h i c h has s u f f e r e d a c r u s h i n g blow a t t h e hands o f M a r t h a , N i c k arid Honey a t t h e end o f A c t One. I n w a r n i n g N i c k t h a t he i s a " d i r e c t and p e r t i n e n t t h r e a t , " George d e m o n s t r a t e s h i s f e a r as w e l l as h i s c o n t r o l o f t h e younger man, an a r c h e t y p a l " c o m i c " s i t u a t i o n . When t h i s w a r n i n g i s i g n o r e d , George i s f r e e d t o a t t a c k w i t h o u t r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r t h e r e s u l t s . F u r t h e r m o r e , when George's a t t e m p t s t o "communicate" ( p . l l 6 ) w i t h N i c k a r e r e p e l l e d , George i s g i v e n a d d i t i o n a l m o t i v a t i o n f o r a t t a c k i n g t h e young man; l i k e J e r r y i n The Zoo S t o r y , George p e r h a p s r e a l i z e s t h a t t h e o n l y way t o r e a c h N i c k ( P e t e r ) i s t o h u r t h i m . L a t e r , when N i c k and M a r t h a b e g i n t h e i r game o f s e d u c t i o n (pp.130-134) and M a r t h a resumes t h e h u m i l i a t i n g s t o r y - t e l l i n g by w h i c h she engaged t h e g u e s t s a t t h e end o f A c t One, George i s g i v e n f u r t h e r - 83 -m o t i v a t i o n f o r a d e s t r u c t i v e game o f ' r e t a l i a t i o n . The f a c t t h a t M a r t h a r e l a t e s h e r s t o r y a b out George's n o v e l w h i l e she i s d a n c i n g w i t h K i c k n e c e s s a r i l y i n v o l v e s t h e young man i n t h e r i d i c u l i n g game: he, i n t u r n , p l a y s t h e game w i t h z e s t , m o c k i n g George w i t h l i n e s l i k e "He w i l l h o t be made mock o f , f o r C h r i s t ' s s a k e " (p.136). Honey, who i s " b e s i d e  h e r s e l f w i t h g l e e " (p.136), a l s o p a r t i c i p a t e s i n t h e r i d i c u l e , c o m p l e t e l y l o s i n g h e r s e l f t o t h e game: when George f i n a l l y a t t e m p t s t o s t r a n g l e Martha> she y e l l s w i l d l y " V i o l e n c e I V i o l e n c e 1" (p.137) A l t h o u g h M a r t h a i s t he b a s i c cause o f George's h u m i l i a t i o n , i t i s p e r h a p s n a t u r a l t h a t he s h o u l d now s t r i k e o u t a g a i n s t N i c k and Honey who a r e h e r w i l l i n g a c c o m p l i c e s and who have g i v e n him s u f f i c i e n t a m munition t o s u p p o r t t h e game o f "Get t h e G u e s t s . " T h i s a mmunition i s m a i n l y composed o f t h e i l l u s i o n s w h i c h N i c k has i n d i r e c t l y and d i r e c t l y r e v e a l e d t o him. B e s i d e s t h e i l l u s i o n o f p r e g n a n c y t h a t Honey u s e d t o t r i c k N i c k i n t o m a r r i a g e , h e r i l l u s i o n about N i c k ' s l o v e and r e s p e c t f o r h e r has been r e v e a l e d and p r o v i d e s e x c e l l e n t a r e a f o r a t t a c k . I n a d d i t i o n , N i c k ' s i l l u s i o n s a b o ut h i m s e l f expose v u l n e r a b i l i t i e s t h a t George c a n use t o h u r t h i m . The f a c t t h a t N i c k i g n o r e s George's w a r n i n g shows N i c k ' s f e e l i n g s o f i n v u l n e r a b i l i t y and c o n t r o l w h i c h a r e s a d l y a m i s s j he i s n e i t h e r t h e s t r o n g and p o t e n t a t h l e t e n o r t h e e m o t i o n a l l y d e t a c h e d s c i e n t i s t t h a t he would have h i m s e l f and o t h e r s - b e l i e v e . T h i s becomes c l e a r as he watches George s t r i p away Honey's i l l u s i o n s and when he l a t e r f a i l s t o r i s e t o M a r t h a ' s s e x u a l demands. I n e f f e c t , George "communicates" w i t h N i c k b y e x a g g e r a t i n g t h e i l l u s i o n s upon - 84 -w h i c h N i c k ' s m a r r i a g e a n d . l i f e a r e based i n t o t h e " a l l e g o r y 1 1 (p*142) o f h i s i l l u s o r y s e cond n o v e l w h i c h , i r o n i c a l l y , p o i n t s o u t t h e r e a l i t y o f N i c k ' s m a r r i a g e . Thus i l l u s i o n i s u s e d t o d e s t r o y i l l u s i o n j u s t as game i s u s e d t o undermine game. The games t h a t N i c k and Honey have p l a y e d t o s u p p o r t t h e i r m a r r i a g e " b a c k f i r e " t o become a n e x o r c i s m i n w h i c h t h e y must c o n f r o n t r e a l i t y . I n d e m o n s t r a t i n g t h e h y p o c r i s y o f N i c k and Honey's m a r r i a g e , George r e v e n g e s h i m s e l f and a s s e r t s h i s power o v e r t h e g r o u p . I n c o n s i d e r i n g " B r i n g i n g up Baby," a game s i m i l a r t o "Get t h e G u e s t s " i n t h a t i t u s e s i l l u s i o n t o d e s t r o y i l l u s i o n , game t o undermine game, one r e a l i z e s t h a t George's m o t i v e s become more complex. F o l l o w i n g "Get t h e G u e s t s , " t h e game o f "Hump t h e H o s t e s s " t a k e s p l a c e , and N i c k and M a r t h a r e t i r e t o t h e bed, l e a v i n g George and Honey t o t h e i r m u t u a l i s o l a t i o n i n t h e l i v i n g - r o o m . E a r l i e r i n A c t Two, George has r e p l i e d t o M a r t h a ' s q u e s t i o n "Tou g i v e u p ? " by s a y i n g "No...no. I t ' s j u s t I ' v e g o t t o f i g u r e o u t some new way t o f i g h t y o u , M a r t h a . G u e r i l l a t a c t i c s , maybe . . . i n t e r n a l s u b v e r s i o n . . . 1 d o n ' t know. S o m e t h i n g . " (p.125). These " g u e r i l l a t a c t i c s " p e r h a p s a p p l y t o "Get t h e G u e s t s " w h i c h has had the e f f e c t o f damaging M a r t h a ' s " f o r c e s " — i e . , N i c k and Honey — f r o m w i t h i n ; t h e y c o u l d a l s o a p p l y , h o w e v e r t o " B r i n g i n g up B a b y j " M a r t h a ' s i l l u s i o n a b o u t h e r son b e i n g a n i n t e r n a l game t h a t she p l a y s w i t h h e r s e l f as-much as w i t h anyone e l s e . I n b o t h c a s e s , George's m o t i v e a p p e a r s t o be revenge f o r t h e h u m i l i a t i o n he has s u f f e r e d a t M a r t h a ' s hands, f i r s t t h r o u g h " H u m i l i a t e t h e H o s t " and t h e n t h r o u g h "Hump t h e H o s t e s s " } t o - 85 -r e t a l i a t e , he must h u r t M a r t h a , must s t r i k e b e n e a t h h e r s u r f a c e -d e f e n s i v e games t o r e a c h t h e marrow i n s i d e t he bone (p.213). As George s a y s t o M a r t h a n e a r t h e end o f A c t Two; " I ' v e g o t t o f i n d some way t o r e a l l y g e t a t y o u " (p.156). A l t h o u g h t h i s m o t i v e i s t h e most o b v i o u s one f o r George's a c t i o n s , a n o t h e r one ap p e a r s n e a r the end o f A c t Two w h i c h i s more r e l e v a n t t o g a m e - p l a y i n g i n t h e p l a y . George says t o M a r t h a , " A c t u a l l y , I'm r a t h e r w o r r i e d a b o u t y o u . Abo u t y o u r m i n d " (p.156). T h i s comment, f o l l o w i n g t h e speech i n w h i c h he c l a i m s M a r t h a has moved "bag and baggage." i n t o her own " f a n t a s y w o r l d " (p.155)^ s u g g e s t s h i s awareness o f M a r t h a ' s tenuous g r a s p o f r e a l i t y and h i s f e a r f o r h e r s a n i t y . H a v i n g a l r e a d y , p r o v e n h i m e s e l f t o be a n a r c h game-player whose c o n t r o l o f games matches h i s awareness o f i l l u s i o n , George r e a l i z e s M a r t h a ' s l a c k o f c o n t r o l i n t h e " F a m i l y " game and t h e dangerous c o n f u s i o n o f i l l u s i o n and r e a l i t y t h a t has prompted h e r t o m e n t i o n Uaeir " s o n " i n p u b l i c . The game must be st o p p e d b e f o r e i t becomes more r e a l t o M a r t h a and t h u s more dangerous; because t h e game has a l r e a d y become so r e a l , i t c a n o n l y be t e r m i n a t e d by a n o t h e r game — t h e p r e t e n c e t h a t t h e son has been k i l l e d . When t h i s game i s p l a y e d i n A c t T h r e e , t h ^ r e a l i t y o f t h e i l l u s i o n t o M a r t h a r a i s e s t h e game t o a p r o f o u n d l y s e r i o u s and p s y c h o -l o g i c a l l e v e l . The " s o n " has i n f a c t become t h e demon i n p o s s e s s i o n o f M a r t h a who must be e x o r c i s e d f o r h e r own good." I n k i l l i n g t h e "sonpK George t h u s saves M a r t h a a t t h e same time, as he r e v e n g e s h i m s e l f . T h i s d o u b l e e f f e c t p a r a l l e l s t h e u l t i m a t e e f f e c t s o f "Get t h e G u e s t s " ; t h e - 86 -d e s t r u c t i o n o f i l l u s i o n f o r M a r t h a , N i c k and Honey^ p r e p a r e s t h e way f o r a more w o r k a b l e r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h r e a l i t y . A l t h o u g h t h e e n d i n g o f Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? i s ambiguous i n t h a t i t L a c k s d e f i n i t e s t a t e m e n t s w h i c h c a n be u s e d t o p r e d i c t George and M a r t h a ' s f u t u r e , t h e p a r a l l e l s between "Get t h e G u e s t s " and " B r i n g i n g up Baby" s u g g e s t t h a t M a r t h a , l i k e Honey, i s now b e t t e r a b l e t o cope w i t h h e r m a r r i a g e i n t h a t she now sees h e r m a r r i a g e as i t r e a l l y i s . Through t h e d i s p e l l i n g o f i l l u s i o n , N i c k and Honey have moved c l o s e r t o g e t h e r : Honey s a y s " I want a c h i l d " ( p . 2 2 2 ) . I r o n i c a l l y , t h i s l i n e f o l l o w s M a r t h a ' s r e c i t a t i o n o f "Our s o n " ( p . 2 l 6 ) , a s e r i e s o f speeches i n w h i c h M a r t h a d e s c r i b e s t h e b i r t h and c h i l d h o o d o f h e r " s o n " i n a r o m a n t i c and i d e a l i s t i c way. T h i s s e r i e s i s c l i m a x e d by a speech w h i c h i l l u s t r a t e s M a r t h a ' s i l l u s i o n s about h e r s e l f and h e r p o s i t i o n i n h e r m a r r i a g e as w e l l a s h e r dangerous s u b s e r v i e n c e t o t h e s o n - i l l u s i o n . She s a y s : And as he grew...and as he grew...oh! so w i s e I . . .he wa l k e d e v e n l y between u s . . . ( S h e s p r e a d s h e r h a n d s ) . . . a hand o u t t o each o f us f o r what we c o u l d o f f e r b y way o f s u p p o r t , a f f e c t i o n , t e a c h i n g , e ven l o v e . . . a n d t h e s e hands, s t i l l , t o h o l d us o f f a b i t , f o r m u t u a l p r o t e c -t i o n , t o p r o t e c t u s a l l f r o m George's... weakness...and m y . . . n e c e s s a r y g r e a t e r s t r e n g t h . . . t o p r o t e c t h i m s e l f . . . a n d u s . (p.222) I r o n i c a l l y , t h e i l l u s o r y p i c t u r e t h a t M a r t h a p a i n t s a b o u t t h e f a m i l y r e l a t i o n s h i p i s t h e one w h i c h i n d u c e s Honey t o f o r g e t h e r f e a r o f c h i l d b i r t h - 87 -and t o e x p r e s s h e r m a t e r n a l d e s i r e . The i r o n y i s a c c e n t u a t e d by George's l i n e "There's a r e a l mother t a l k i n g * ( p . 2 2 2 ) . l e t , i n e f f e c t , . t h i s l i n e i s t r u e , f o r M a r t h a has come t o f e e l f o r h e r i l l u s i o n s a s a mother would f o r h e r r e a l c h i l d j j u s t p r i o r t o t h i s l i n e , George's s a y i n g " A l l t r u t h b e i n g r e l a t i v e " acknowledges t h e t r u t h o f M a r t h a ' s f e e l i n g s f o r t h e " s o n " and d e m o n s t r a t e s t h e r e a l p r o p o r t i o n s t h a t " s o n " has assumed i n M a r t h a ' s m i n d . Because t h e " s o n " has become a t r u t h , , he must d i e : any t r u t h so r e l a t i v e t o p r i v a t e c o n t e x t , so u n a b l e t o w i t h -s t a n d p u b l i c e x p o s u r e , must be d e s t r o y e d once i t has been r e v e a l e d , o t h e r -w i s e i t w i l l d e s t r o y t h e b e l i e v e r . T h a t M a r t h a b e l i e v e s i n t h e "sony!'. she h e r s e l f s t a t e s when she s a y s n e a r t h e end o f t h e p l a y : I FORGET I Some t i m e s . . . some t i m e s when i t ' s n i g h t , when i t ' s l a t e , and... e v e r y b o d y e l s e i s . . . t a l k i n g . . . I f o r -g e t and I...want t o m e n t i o n him... (p.237) H e r e , o f c o u r s e , M a r t h a i s a l s o r e f e r r i n g t o t h e r u l e t h a t t h e "son"must n o t be p u b l i c l y m e n t i o n e d ; b u t t h a t she c a n fcrget t h i s r u l e means t h a t she can and does f o r g e t t h a t she i s m e r e l y p l a y i n g a game. When M a r t h a l a t e r a s k s "You had t o ? " i n r e f e r e n c e t o t h e " m u r d e r ^ George r e p l i e s " I t was... t i m e " (p.24-0). He f o l l o w s w i t h " I t w i l l be b e t t e r . " H o p e f u l l y , George and M a r t h a w i l l be a b l e t o u n i t e i n a more p o s i t i v e way,, l i k e Honey and N i c k . B e f o r e e x i t i n g , t h e l a t t e r c o u p l e speak t o e a c h o t h e r h e s i t a n t l y , N i c k - 8 8 -s a y i n g " I ' d l i k e t o . . . " ( p . 2 3 8 ) , p r o b a b l y r e f e r r i n g t o Honey's e a r l i e r l i n e " I want a c h i l d . " George's d e s t r u c t i v e game has had t h e c o n s t r u c t i v e e f f e c t o f u n i t i n g t h e c o u p l e w i t h o u t t h e a i d o f i l l u s i o n s ; h o p e f u l l y the. game he has won o v e r M a r t h a w i l l have t h e same outcome. M a r t h a a s k s George " J u s t . . . u s ? " and he r e p l i e s " Y e s " ( p . 2 4 1 ) ; he t h e n a s k s "Are y o u a l l r i g h t ? " and M a r t h a s a y s "Yes.- No." The l i n e s s u g g e s t t h a t George and M a r t h a w i l l a t t e m p t t o l i v e w i t h o u t i l l u s i o n s , a t l e a s t w i t h o u t i l l u s i o n s as l a r g e and demanding as a son; because o f t h i s , M a r t h a i s f r i g h t e n e d . The t i t l e song t h a t George f i n a l l y s i n g s now u p s e t s M a r t h a , t h e word p l a y on V i r g i n i a W o o l f and the b i g bad w o l f r e p r e s e n t i n g M a r t h a ' s f e a r o f and v u l n e r a b i l i t y t o h e r b a r r e n and l o n e l y r e a l i t y . She has been f o r c e d t o remember b o t h t h e p r o p o r t i o n and cause o f h e r i l l u s i o n and t o f a c e t h e f a c t s o f h e r e x i s t e n c e ; h e r l i f e looms b e f o r e h e r l i k e a h u n g r y w o l f . What w i l l she do now? George has a l r e a d y g i v e n t h e most p o s i t i v e answer: You j u s t r e a r r a n g e y o u r a l l i a n c e s . . . You j u s t p i c k up t h e p i e c e s where y o u can...you j u s t l o o k a r o u n d and make the b e s t o f t h i n g s . . . y o u s c r a m b l e back up on y o u r f e e t . (p.149) To what degree M a r t h a w i l l need and use f u r t h e r games and i l l u s i o n s t o s u p p o r t h e r e x i s t e n c e i s d e b a t a b l e ; b u t t h a t she w i l l remember he r r e a l i t y i s n o t . - 89 -The c o n c l u s i o n o f Who' s A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? i n w h i c h M a r t h a acknowledges h e r f e a r o f " V i r g i n i a W o o l f " p r o v i d e s a n e f f e c t i v e end t o g a m e - p l a y i n g i n t h a t i t i n d i c a t e s b o t h t h e cause and e f f e c t o f games; i n t h e p l a y , games l e a d t h e c h a r a c t e r s b o t h away f r o m and back t o r e a l i t y . F o r M a r t h a , " V i r g i n i a W o o l f " s u g g e s t s t h e r e a l i t y o f h e r l i f e and f o r t h i s r e a s o n she i s a f r a i d : t h e " w o l f , " s t r i p p e d o f I l l u s i o n has t h e c a p a c i t y t o d evour h e r . O b v i o u s l y M a r t h a has been dependent upon i l l u s i o n and games because she needs t h e two t o l i v e . She i s t h e t y p e o f i n d i v i d u a l a b o u t whom Berne w r i t e s : These p e o p l e ' s p s y c h i c s t a b i l i t y i s so p r e c a r i o u s , and t h e i r p o s i t i o n s so t e n u -o u s l y m a i n t a i n e d , t h a t t o d e p r i v e them o f t h e i r games may p l u n g e them i n t o i r r e v e r -s i b l e d e s p a i r and even p s y c h o s i s . S u c h p e o p l e w i l l f i g h t v e r y h a r d a g a i n s t any a n t i t h e t i c a l moves. 5 He goes on t o s a y t h a t i n some m a r r i a g e s t h e d e s t r u c t i o n o f games and i l l u s i o n s may b e n e f i t one spouse w h i l e i t l e a d s t o d e t e r i o r a t i o n o f t h e o t h e r . T h i s i s p e r h a p s t h e case w i t h George and M a r t h a , George b e i n g more a b l e t o l i v e w i t h o u t games and i l l u s i o n s t h a n h i s w i f e . T h i s i s n o t t o s a y , however, t h a t M a r t h a w i l l n o t be a b l e t o c o n t r o l h e r games ance she a c c e p t s t h e r e a l i t y t h a t prompts them. Her l i n e n e a r t h e b e g i n n i n g o f A c t T h r e e , a l t h o u g h spoken l i g h t l y , makes s e r i o u s comment on h e r g a m e - p l a y i n g . N i c k s a y s "You're a l l c r a z y : n u t s " (p.187) and M a r t h a r e p l i e s ; ^ B e r n e , p . 6 l . - 90 -A www, ' t i s t h e r e f u g e we t a k e when t h e u n r e a l i t y o f t h e w o r l d weighs t o o h e a v i l y on o u r t i n y h eads.... ( p p. 187-188) F o r M a r t h a , t h e r e a l i t y o f h e r e x i s t e n c e — h e r m e a n i n g l e s s l i f e and b a r r e n m a r r i a g e — i s more u n r e a l t h a n t h e " t r u t h " o f s u c h i l l u s i o n s a s h e r s o n . S u c h t r u t h s a r e h e r r e f u g e f r o m t h e " n o t h i n g " t h a t George m e n t i o n s i n A c t One — "Martha and I a r e h a v i n g . . . n o t h i n g . M a r t h a and I a r e m e r e l y . . . e x e r c i s i n g . . . " ( p . 3 3 ) . The n o t h i n g o f h e r e x i s t e n c e i s what M a r t h a can n o t a c c e p t , t h e r e a l i t y w h i c h i s u n r e a l i n i t s e m p t i n e s s and i s o l a t i o n . I f h e r games were u s e d as v e h i c l e s t o manage t h i s r e a l i t y r a t h e r t h a n as s u b s t i t u t e s f o r i t , t h e games c o u l d become b e n e f i c i a l . A s Berne w r i t e s : ...games a r e i n t e g r a l and dynamic com-po n e n t s o f t h e u n c o n s c i o u s l i f e - p l a y , o r s c r i p t , o f each i n d i v i d u a l ; t h e y s e r v e t o f i l l i n t h e t i m e w h i l e he w a i t s f o r t h e f i n a l f u l f i l l m e n t , s i m u l t a n e o u s -l y a d v a n c i n g t h e a c t i o n . 6 I f M a r t h a c o u l d a c c e p t t h i s f a c t and use h e r games as c o n s c i o u s t i m e -f i l l e r s , h e r p o s i t i o n would be s t a b i l i z e d . Her l i n e t o George i n A c t T h r e e , " T r u t h and i l l u s i o n , George, y o u d o n ' t know t h e d i f f e r e n c e " ' (p.2 0 2 ) , a p p l i e s more t o h e r s e l f and makes a n i r o n i c comment on George's f u n c t i o n i n t h e p l a y . H i s r e p l y , . "No; b u t we must c a r r y on as t h o u g h we d i d " £>Berne, 6 2 . 1 - 91 -r e l a t e s t o h i s l a t e r l i n e " A l l t r u t h b e i n g r e l a t i v e " ( p . 2 2 2 ) . George r e a l i z e s and a c c e p t s t h e u n r e a l i t y o f r e a l i t y and t h e t r u t h i m p l i c i t i n t h e c r e a t i v e use o f i l l u s i o n ! he i s t h u s a b l e t o " c a r r y o n " by managing h i s games and c o n t r o l l i n g h i s i l l u s i o n s . F o l l o w i n g h e r e x o r c i s m , M a r t h a , h o p e f u l l y , w i l l be a b l e t o do t h e same. The use o f " V i r g i n i a W o o l f " i n t h e pun t h a t becomes s y m b o l i c o f M a r t h a ' s f e a r o f r e a l i t y s u g g e s t s a p o i n t w h i c h l e a d s i n t o a d i s c u s s i o n o f t h e p l a y ' s s t r u c t u r e and A l b e e ' s t e c h n i q u e s ! t h i s i s , t h e 1 r e l a t i o n o f " s t o r y " and " f i c t i o n " t o g a m e - p l a y i n g . A m a j x c r i t i c i s m o f "Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? i s t h e i m p r o b a b i l i t y o f l i c k and Honey's r e m a i n i n g a t George and M a r t h a ' s , an i m p r o b a b i l i t y w h i c h D r i v e r compares t o P e t e r ' s r e m a i n i n g w i t h J e r r y i n The Zoo S t o r y . D r i v e r a s k s j "Why d o e s n ' t N i c k . . . t a k e h i s young w i f e and go home when he sees George 7 and M a r t h a want o n l y t o f i g h t t h e whole .night t h r o u g h . " The answer i n v o l v e s t h e s p e c t a t o r - p l a y e r r e l a t i o n s h i p t h a t George and M a r t h a i m m e d i a t e l y e s t a b l i s h w i t h N i c k and Honey. The l a t t e r c o u p l e r e m a i n s f o r t h e same r e a s o n t h a t P e t e r r e m a i n s w i t h J e r r y and t h a t t h e a u d i e n c e remains i n the t h e a t r e : t h a t i s , t o w a t c h someone e l s e p l a y games. As N i c k ' s a y s t o George s h o r t l y a f t e r a r r i v i n g : "...you two..you and y o u r w i f e . . . s e e m t o be h a v i n g some s o i t o f a . . . " ( p . 3 3 ) ] h e r e , " b a t t l e " would be an a p p r o p r i a t e noun f o r N i c k t o have u s e d . M o r e o v e r , i t i s a b a t t l e w h i c h i n v o l v e s ^Tom F. D r i v e r , "What's t h e m a t t e r w i t h Edward A l b e e ? " i n The Modern  A m e r i c a n T h e a t r e , e d . A l v i n B. K e r n a n (Englewood C l i f f s , N . J . , 1967), p.99. - 92 -s u s p e n s e . E a r l i e r , George has s a i d t o M a r t h a i n f r o n t o f N i c k and Honey, " J u s t d o n ' t s h o o t y o u r mouth off...about...you-know-what-" ( p . 2 9 ) ; t h e e f f e c t o f t h i s on N i c k and Honey i s t h e same as t h e e f f e c t o f h i s e a r l i e r l i n e — " J u s t d o n ' t s t a r t i n o f t h e b i t " (p.18) — on t h e a u d i e n c e o r J e r r y ' s l i n e t o P e t e r — " Y o u ' l l r e a d about i t i n t h e p a p e r s tomorrow, i f y o u d o n ' t see i t on y o u r TV t o n i g h t " (The Zoo S t o r y , p . 1 5 ) : t h a t i s , t h e c o u p l e ' s i n t e r e s t and c u r i o s i t y i s a r o u s e d , l i k e t h e i r d e s i r e f o r v i c a r i o u s e x p e r i e n c e w h i c h i s o p e n l y acknowledged when Honey y e l l s " V i o l e n c e ! V i o l e n c e I" (p.13) a s she watches George a t t e m p t t o s t r a n g l e M a r t h a . George and M a r t h a s e t up two m a j o r components o f drama — i . e . , suspense and c o n f l i c t — by t h e i r e l a b o r a t e g a m e - p l a y i n g and t h e r e b y involve:,: t h e i r g u e s t s j u s t as t h e y do t h e a u d i e n c e . T h e i r games o f m i m i c r y and i m p e r s o n a t i o n add t o t h e drama o f t h e s i t u a t i o n a t t h e same time t h a t t h e y p r o p e l t h e a c t i o n . N i c k and Honey become i n t e g r a l t o t h e i r games a s does a n a u d i e n c e t o a p l a y , a f a c t w h i c h i s emphasized i n t h e " e x o r c i s m " where N i c k and Honey become t h e n e c e s s a r y s p e c t a t o r s i n t h e r i t u a l and N i c k e v e n p a r t i c i p a t e s i n t h e p r o c e s s . A l b e e ' s s t a g e d i r e c t i o n s i n t h i s scene s t a t e : " N i c k r i s e s , g r a b s h o l d o f M a r t h a , p i n s h e r arm b e h i n d h e r  b a c k " ( p . 2 3 2 ) . As M a r t h a screams, N i c k " h o l d s on," becoming a p h y s i c a l symbol o f t h e son-demon i n p o s s e s s i o n o f M a r t h a . When th e " s o n " i s e x o r c i s e d , George says t o N i c k " L e t h e r go" (p»233) and he does s o , h i s r o l e i n t h e r i t u a l c o m p l e t e d . N i c k and Honey, l i k e t h e a u d i e n c e have been l e d f r o m b e i n g mere s p e c t a t o r s o f s i m p l e s u r f a c e games t o b e i n g p a r t i c i p a n t s i n t h e s e r i o u s r i t u a l o f e x o r c i s m . - 93 -The p o s i t i o n o f N i c k and Honey as s p e c t a t o r s o f George and M a r t h a ' s games i s d e v e l o p e d i n t h e p l a y by the* use o f t h e a n e c -d o t e s , s t o r i e s , songs and j o k e s t h a t c o n s t i t u t e t h e s u r f a c e games: a l l p r o v i d e t h e g u e s t s w i t h t h e s u b s t i t u t e s f o r r e a l i t y t h a t t h e y seek. I r o n i c a l l y , t h e i l l u s i o n s t h a t t h e s e games u s u a l l y s e t up o f t e n c o n t a i n a t r u t h f r o m w h i c h t h e c h a r a c t e r s a r e t r y i n g t o e s c a p e . S u c h i s t h e case w i t h b o t h George's f i r s t and second "novels'*: t h e s t o r y - l i n e o f e a c h n o v e l c o n t a i n s a t r u t h w h i c h i s u s e d t o h u r t one o f t h e c h a r a c t e r s . M a r t h a , i n o u t l i n i n g George's f i r s t n o v e l , acknowledges t h i s f a c t when she d e s c r i b e s George's c o n f r o n t a t i o n w i t h h e r f a t h e r . A t t h a t t i m e , George a p p a r e n t l y s a i d "No, S i r , t h i s i s n ' t a n o v e l a t a l l . . . t h i s i s t h e t r u t h . . . t h i s r e a l l y happened...to ME!" (p.137) T h i s l i n e " g a i n s s i g n i f i c a n c e when George r e l a t e s t h e s t o r y o f h i s "second n o v e l " and e x p o s e s t h e t r u t h a b out N i c k and Honey's m a r r i a g e . I n t h i s s e cond c a s e , t h e l i n e c o u l d be changed t o " T h i s i s n ' t a n o v e l a t a l l . . . t h i s i s t h e t r u t h . . . t h i s r e a l l y happened... t o NICK and HONEY!" I n b o t h c a s e s , t h e " f i c t i o n " o f the s t o r y f o r m has i t s b a s i s i n f a c t , and t h e i l l u s i o n s i t s e t s up and d e s c r i b e s become r e a l as t h e y a r e u s e d as v e h i c l e s o f c o m m u n i c a t i o n . S i m i l a r l y , . t h e " l i e s " o f b o t h George and M a r t h a ' s "Baby" n a r r a t i v e i n A c t Three a r e r e a l o r t r u t h f u l i n t h e i r e f f e c t . M a r t h a c o n t i n u a l l y y e l l s " l i e s ! L i e s ! " (pp.225-226) w h i l e George d e s c r i b e s t h e i r " s o n ' s " r e a c t i o n s t o M a r t h a ' s a t t e n t i o n s ; i n r e a l i t y , M a r t h a i s c o r r e c t f o r George's s t a t e m e n t s a r e i l l u s o r y ; b u t i n t h e c o n t e x t o f t h e s i t u a t i o n — i n t h e " r e a l i t y " o f t h e i l l u s i o n — t h e l i e s a r e t r u t h s - 94 -i n t h e i r r e l e v a n c e t o t h e m a r r i a g e and t h e i r e f f e c t upon M a r t h a ' s m o t h e r - r o l e . The l i e s become t r u t h s as t h e y a r e u s e d t o f r i g h t e n and h u r t a n o t h e r c h a r a c t e r . 0 F o r t h e a u d i e n c e , t h e i r o n y h e r e i s t h r e e f o l d . F i r s t o f a l l , t h e l i e s a r e l i e s i n t h a t t h e y a r e p a r t o f t h e d r a m a t i c i l l u s i o n ; y e t t h e y a r e t r u t h s i n so f a r as t h i s i l l u s i o n i s a c c e p t e d . S e c o n d l y , t h e l i e s a r e l i e s i n t h a t t h e y r e f e r t o t h e s o n - i l l u s i o n ; y e t t h e y a r e t r u t h s i n so f a r as t h i s i l l u s i o n has r e l a t i v e t r u t h . T h i r d l y , t h e l i e s may be l i e s t h a t George i s c r e a t i n g w i t h i n t h e " F a m i l y " game; o r t h e y may be t r u t h s t h a t he p e r c e i v e s about M a r t h a ' s c h a r a c t e r . I n a l l c a s e s , t h e l i e s s e r v e t o i n v o l v e t h e a u d i e n c e i n t h e g a m e - p l a y i n g j u s t as N i c k and Honey a r e i n v o l v e d , c o n f u s i n g t r u t h and i l l u s i o n t o t h e degree t h a t i l l u s i o n c a n be u s e d t o d e s t r o y i t s e l f , as game i s u s e d t o d e s t r o y game. The p a r a l l e l i s m between N i c k and. Honey and the' a u d i e n c e g a i n s added s i g n i f i c a n c e when i t i s r e a l i z e d t h a t N i c k and Honey's r o l e s a s s p e c t a t o r s a r e r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f t h e i r g e n e r a l a t t i t u d e t o w a r d s l i f e r t h e y do n o t t a k e p a r t , r a t h e r w a t c h t h e games and a c t i o n s o f o t h e r and use them as s u b s t i t u t e s f o r " t h e r e a l l i v i n g o f r e a l i n t i m a c y . " 9 As N i c k says, e a r l y i n t h e p l a y , " . . . I d o n ' t l i k e to...become i n v o l v e d . . . i n o t h e r p e o p l e ' s a f f a i r s " ( p. 3 4 ) . L a t e r , w i t h r e f e r e n c e t o t h i s s t a t m e n t , George s a y s , " I know y o u l i k e t o . . . p r e s e r v e y o u r s c i e n t i f i c detachment i n t h e The t h e m a t i c s i m i l a r i t y o f t h i s scene and t h e one between t h e -Nurse and t h e I n t e r n i n The D e a t h o f B e s s i e S m i t h ( d i s c u s s e d on pages 39 and 40 o f t h i s work) i s n o t e w o r t h y i n t h a t i t s u g g e s t s t h e c o n s i s t e n c y o f A l b e e ' s b e l i e f i n t h e t r u t h t h a t i l l u s i o n c a n a c h i e v e . ^ B e r n e , p.18. - 95, -f a c e o f -- f o r l a c k o f a b e t t e r word — l i f e . . . " ( p . 1 0 0 ) . To what degree A l b e e c o n s i d e r s t h e a u d i e n c e t o be s i m i l a r t o N i c k and Honey can o n l y be s u r m i s e d : because o f t h e p a r a l l e l i s m d e v e l o p e d i n t h e p l a y , however, i t i s l o g i c a l t o assume t h a t A l b e e f e e l s t h a t t h e a u d i e n c e s u f f e r s f r o m t h e same d e s i r e f o r v i c a r i o u s e x p e r i e n c e as N i c k and Honey, t h e d e s i r e n o u r i s h e d b y t h e s t o r i e s and a n e c d o t e s i n t h e p l a y , i n d e e d , . by t h e p l a y i t s e l f . T h i s perhaps r e s u l t s f r o m s i m i l a r f e a r s and v u l n e r -a b i l i t i e s . Honey's a d m i s s i o n i n A c t Two — "I'm a f r a i d ! I d o n ' t want t o be h u r t . . . P L E A S E ! " (p.176) -- i s a d i r e c t cause o f h e r l a c k o f r e a l i n v o l v e m e n t w i t h N i c k . She p r e s e r v e s h e r detachment f r o m a r e a l i t y t h a t m i g h t be p a i n f u l by a d o p t i n g a c h i l d - r o l e w h i c h i s t h e d i r e c t c o u n t e r p a r t o f M a r t h a ' s m o t h e r - r o l e . Her f e a r s o f c h a n g i n g t h i s r o l e and t h u s becoming v u l n e r a b l e a r e s i m i l a r t o t h e a u d i e n c e ' s f e a r s w h i c h A l b e e i m p l i e s when he s a y s j t h e a u d i e n c e wants t o see t h e s t a t u s quo, wants t o be e n t e r t a i n e d r a t h e r t h a n d i s t u r b e d , wants t o be c o m f o r t e d . . . . 10 I r o n i c a l l y , t h e d r a m a t i c i l l u s i o n o f Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? p o i n t s o u t t r u t h s about A m e r i c a n l i f e w h i c h t h e a u d i e n c e i s p o s s i b l y t r y i n g t o e s c a p e : t h e m e a n i n g l e s s n e s s t h a t prompts games and i l l u s i o n s as w e l l as t h e h y p o c r i s y , a r t i f i c i a l i t y and v i o l e n c e t h a t marks so many o f t h e s e game's. The p l a y works t o d i s p e l t h e a u d i e n c e ' s i l l u s i o n s j u s t as " John G i e l g u d and Edward A l b e e T a l k About t h e T h e a t r e , " A t l a n t i c , 215 ( A p r i l , 1965), p.65. - 96 -t h e games w i t h i n t h e p l a y work t o d i s p e l t h e c h a r a c t e r s 1 i l l u s i o n s . The c o n t e n t o f t h e p l a y i s t h u s e x t e n d e d by i t s f o r m . I n Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? , A l b e e e x t e n d s t h e g a m e - p l a y i n g o f t h e c h a r a c t e r s i n t o t h e f o r m o f t h e p l a y b y u s i n g v a r i o u s t e c h n i q u e s w h i c h , as i n h i s o n e - a c t p l a y s , c o n s t i t u t e h i s u s e o f t h e p l a y as a game. C e n t r a l t o t h e s e t e c h n i q u e s i s t h e a u d i e n c e ' s d e s i r e t o " p i c k a w i n n e r " i n t h e p l a y , a n i d e a w h i c h was d i s c u s s e d i n r e l a t i o n t o The Zoo S t o r y i n C h a p t e r Two. Unable t o e i t h e r p i c k a w i n n e r o r t o d e l i n e a t e hero o r v i l l a i n i n a p l a y , t h e a u d i e n c e i s p r e v e n t e d f r o m " c a l l i n g t h e s h o t s " and i s t h e r e f o r e d i s t u r b e d . M o r e o v e r , t h e c o n f u s i o n t h e a u d i e n c e e n c o u n t e r s c a n o n l y be'overcome by i t s c o n s i d e r a t i o n o f t h e c h a r a c t e r s and t h e i r problems i n r e l a t i o n t o i t s own v a l u e s . A l b e e p u r p o s e l y d e v e l o p s s u c h a c o n f u s i o n i n o r d e r t o p u t t h e a u d i e n c e i n t o i t s e l f , t o f o r c e i t i n t o "a k i n d o f a d v e n t u r e i n t h e t h e a t r e . T o o o f t e n t h e the a t r e - g a m e s o f drawing-room dramas l i k e L i f e w i t h F a t h e r ( a n a d a p t a t i o n o f t h e n o v e l by C l a r e n c e Day) a r e u s e d t o escape t h i s r e a l i t y r a t h e r t h a n t o u n d e r s t a n d and cope w i t h i t ; as s u c h , t h e s e games f o s t e r i l l u s i o n s w h i c h a r e s i m i l a r i n p u r p o s e t o t h e i l l u s i o n s t h e c h a r a c t e r s use i n Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? They a r e u s e d as e s c a p e - r o u t e s f r o m r e a l i t y . I t i s games such as t h e s e w h i c h d e v e l o p and s u p p o r t t h e "peachy'keen" i l l u s i o n s o f A m e r i c a n l i f e t h a t A l b e e f e e l s a r e so dangerous t o p r o d u c t i v e and w o r t h w h i l e development, i g n o r i n g as t h e y do A l b e e , A t l a n t i c , p.65. - 97 -v i o l e n c e , d i s c o r d , h y p o c r i s y and d e c a y t h a t he sees as b a s i c A m e r i c a n r e a l i t i e s . By u n d e r m i n i n g s u c h t h e a t r e games and f o r c i n g t h e a u d i e n c e t o undergo a t h e a t r e a d v e n t u r e w h i c h l e a v e s i t u n e a s y , d i s t u r b e d and q u e s t i o n i n g , A l b e e hopes t o t e a c h as w e l l as t o e n t e r t a i n , t o p r o v i d e t h e awareness o f r e a l i t y t h a t i s a n e c e s s a r y p r e l u d e t o c o n s t r u c t i v e change and g r o w t h . I n Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? , t h e a u d i e n c e i s p r e v e n t e d f r o m " p i c k i n g a w i n n e r " j u s t a s i t i s i n The Zoo S t o r y . A l t h o u g h George f i n a l l y " w i n s " o v e r M a r t h a , h i s v i c t o r y i s an u g l y onej i n e f f e c t , he i s a " m u r d e r e r , " m u r d e r i n g h i s " s o n " j u s t as he "murdered" h i s own p a r e n t s . I f t h e a u d i e n c e i s t o a c c e p t t h e s h a t t e r i n g o f t h e s o n - i l l u s i o n as c o n s t r u c t i v e and t h e r e b y t o choose George as t h e hero o f t h e p l a y , i t must a l s o a c c e p t t h e n e c e s s i t y o f r e a l i t y - c o n f r o n t a t i o n and t h e danger o f u n c o n t r o l l e d game-p l a y i n g . T h i s i s a l o t t o e x p e c t o f a n a u d i e n c e t h a t "wants t o see t h e s t a t u s quo" m a i n t a i n e d . More l i k e l y t h e a u d i e n c e w i l l a c c e p t t h e r e v e n g e m o t i v e f o r George's a c t i o n s and f e e l p e s s i m i s t i c , about M a r t h a ' s f i n a l p o s i t i o n i n t h e p l a y . I n d e e d , some may f e e l a t t h e c o n c l u s i o n o f t h e p l a y t h a t George i s t h e v i l l a i n , h a v i n g d e s t r o y e d M a r t h a ' s i l l u s i o n s f o r h i s own s e l f i s h m o t i v e s and h a v i n g pushed h e r o v e r t h e edge o f s a n i t y t o t h e p o i n t t h a t she has become f r i g h t e n e d , i n a r t i c u l a t e and w i t h d r a w n . T h i s p o s s i b l e r e a c t i o n i s p r e p a r e d f o r t h r o u g h o u t t h e p l a y by George and M a r t h a ' s c o n t i n u i b i c k e r i n g i n w h i c h M a r t h a ' s s t a t e m e n t s o f t e n appear - 98 -t o be as c l e a r - h e a d e d as George's. T h i s i s p a r t i c u l a r l y n o t i c e a b l e i n A c t Two i n t h e scene i n w h i c h t h e c o u p l e d e c l a r e s " t o t a l war" ( p . 1 5 9 ) . H e r e , M a r t h a ' s speeches p r o v i d e s y m p a t h e t i c m o t i v e s f o r many o f h e r a c t i o n s ; t h e y a l s o d e m o n s t r a t e h e r f e e l i n g s a b o u t h e r m a r r i a g e . F o r example, she s a y s : You know what's happened, George? You want t o know what's r e a l l y happened? (Snaps h e r f i n g e r s ) I t ' s snapped, f i -n a l l y . Not m e . . . i t . The whole a r r a n g e -ment. You c a n go a l o n g . . . f o r e v e r , and e v e r y t h i n g ' s . . . m a n a g e a b l e . You make a l l s o r t s o f e x c u s e s t o y o u r s e l f . . . y o u know . . . t h i s i s l i f e . . . t h e h e l l w i t h i t . . . maybe tomorrow h e ' l l be dead...maybe t o -morrow y o u ' l l be d e a d . . . a l l s o r t s o f e x c u s e s . But t h e n , one day, one n i g h t , s o m e t h i n g happens...and SNAP! I t b r e a k s . And y o u j u s t d o n ' t g i v e a damn anymore. I ' v e t r i e d w i t h y o u , baby.. . r e a l l y , I ' v e t r i e d , (p.157) The e f f e c t o f t h i s s p e e c h i s t o p u t M a r t h a i n a s y m p a t h e t i c p o s i t i o n and t o s u g g e s t t h a t h e r v i e w o f h e r m a r r i a g e i s n o t as b e f u d d l e d as i t l a t e r a p p e a r s . T h i s e f f e c t i s emphasized i n A c t Three i n w h i c h M a r t h a a d m i t s t o N i c k " t h e r e i s o n l y one man i n my l i f e who has ever...made me happy" ( p , l 8 9 ) — "George: my husband" ( p . 1 9 0 ) . When N i c k d i s b e l i e v e s t h i s , she a s k s "You a l w a y s d e a l i n a p p e a r a n c e s ? " (p.190) T h i s l i n e i l l u s t r a t e s M a r t h a ' s c o n -s i d e r a t i o n o f t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p between I l l u s i o n and r e a l i t y b y d e m o n s t r a t i n g j h e r r e c o g n i t i o n o f t h e f a c t t h a t r e a l i t y i s o f t e n i l l u s o r y ; c o n t r a r y t o a p p e a r a n c e s , George has been a b l e t o s a t i s f y M a r t h a . T h i s l i n e , as w e l l as - 99 -M a r t h a ' s l i n e a b o ut g a m e - p l a y i n g i n h e r f o l l o w i n g s p e e ch (p.191), c a n be u s e d t o s u p p o r t t h e argument t h a t George's "murder'1' "wasn't^... needed" (p.237). On t h e o t h e r hand, George's speech d u r i n g t h e " t o t a l war" s c e n e , p a r t i c u l a r l y t h e one about M a r t h a ' s " f a n t a s y w o r l d " (p.15$), g i v e s s u p p o r t t o George's a c t i o n s and makes him more t h a n a s e l f i s h v i l l a i n . I n r e p l y t o M a r t h a ' s "snap" s p e e c h , George v e r b a l i z e s h i s s t a n d and g i v e s a n o t h e r p e r s p e c t i v e on M a r t h a ' s argument. He s a y s : Once a month, M a r t h a ! I ' v e g o t t e n u s e d t o i t . . . o n c e a month and we g e t m i s u n d e r -s t o o d M a r t h a , t h e g o o d - h e a r t e d g i r l u n d e r -n e a t h t h e b a r n a c l e s , t h e l i t t l e M i s s t h a t t h e t o u c h o f k i n d n e s s ' d b r i n g t o bloom a g a i n . And I ' v e b e l i e v e d i t more t i m e s t h a n I want t o remember, because I d o n ' t want t o t h i n k I'm t h a t much o f a s u c k e r , (pp.157-158) The e f f e c t o f b o t h George and M a r t h a ' s speeches i s t o c o n f u s e t h e a u d i e n c e t o t h e same degree t h a t Wick and Honey a r e c o n f u s e d and i n v o l v e d . N i c k ' s l a t e r l i n e " I don't know when y o u p e o p l e a r e l y i n g , o r what" (p.200) i s p r o b a b l y echoed by t h e a u d i e n c e . S u c h a c o n f u s i o n i s c o n s t r u c t i v e f o r i t demands t h a t t h e a u d i e n c e c o n s i d e r George's and M a r t h a ' s s i t u a t i o n a t more t h a n a s u p e r f i c i a l l e v e l . The a u d i e n c e cannot i m m e d i a t e l y b e l i e v e what George and M a r t h a Say and must c o n s i d e r more t h a n t h e mere " r e a l i t y " o f t h e i r words. I n n e c e s s i t a t i n g s u c h c o n s i d e r a t i o n , A l b e e d e m o n s t r a t e s one o f t h e m a j o r themes o f t h e p l a y : namely, t h a t r e a l i t y and i l l u s i o n a r e b o t h p r e s e n t and i n t e r t w i n e d i n l i f e . M o r e o v e r , because t h e whole p l a y i s i t s e l f a n - 100 -i l l u s i o n , . ATbee i m p l i e s t h a t man has o n l y i l l u s i o n w i t h w h i c h t o r e c o n s t r u c t h i s sense o f r e a l i t y . The c o n f u s i o n s u r r o u n d i n g George's and M a r t h a ' s m o t i v e s i n t h e p l a y , a c o n f u s i o n w h i c h p r e v e n t s t h e a u d i e n c e f r o m " c a l l i n g t h e s h o t s , " i s f u r t h e r e d when one c o n s i d e r s George's e m a s c u l a t i o n and M a r t h a ' s a g g r e s s i v e s e x u a l i t y . I t c a n be a r g u e d , as G e r a l d N e l s o n d o e s , t h a t George and M a r t h a become two h a l v e s o f t h e same p e r s o n . N e l s o n w r i t e s : What A l b e e d o e s . . . , w h i l e making George and M a r t h a d i f f e r e n t p h y s i c a l l y , i s t o make them homosexual p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y . The t e n s i o n o f p s y c h o l o g i c a l o p p o s i t i o n i s gone i n George and M a r t h a , t h e y a r e t h e same man i n d i f f e r e n t b o d i e s . 12 N e l s o n a r g u e s t h a t M a r t h a t a k e s o v e r J e r r y ' s p o s i t i o n f r o m The Zoo S t o r y , b a t t l i n g George as J e r r y b a t t l e s P e t e r . A l t h o u g h t h i s argument i s wrong and s h o u l d , i f u s e d a t a l l , be r e v e r s e d , N e l s o n ' s p o i n t about t h e homosexual p s y c h o l o g y o f George and M a r t h a i s v a l i d ; m o r e o v e r j h i s s t a t e m e n t t h a t h i s p s y c h o l o g y has an a l i e n a t i n g e f f e c t on t h e a u d i e n c e s u p p o r t s the i d e a t h a t A l b e e u s e s t h e p l a y as a game. The a u d i e n c e , as N e l s o n p o i n t s o u t , sees George and M a r t h a and wants a . f i g h t between a man and a woman as t r a d i t i o n has l e d i t t o e x p e c t one, i . e . , a b a t t l e between t h e s e x e s . I n t h e p l a y , however, t h e c o u p l e i s n o t c o m p e t i t i v e ' as man v e r s u s woman ( i n t h e manner o f K a t h e r i n e v e r s u s P e t r u c h i o ) o r even as man v e r s u s man (Ant h o n y v e r s u s "Edward A l b e e and h i s well-made p l a y s , " T r i - Q u a r t e r l y , no.5 ( S p r i n g , 1 9 6 7 ) , p , l 8 6 . - 101 -B r u t u s ) b u t as man v e r s u s h i m s e l f . George and M a r t h a "use t h e same weapons a g a i n s t e a c h o t h e r and t h e r e i s no q u e s t i o n o f George r e g a i n i n g h i s manhood, b u t o n l y o f h i s d e s t r o y i n g M a r t h a ' s . " ^ 3 A l t h o u g h George does f i n a l l y a s s e r t h i s c o n t r o l o v e r M a r t h a , he spends much o f h i s t i m e p l a y i n g t h e s u b s e r v i e n t r o l e t y p i c a l o f t h e "hen-pecked" husband. The a u d i e n c e ' s e x p e c t a t i o n s a r e t h e r e b y f r u s t r a t e d } A l b e e a f f e c t s t h e d i s t a n c e t h a t w i l l a l l o w t h e a u d i e n c e t o become i n t e l l e c t u a l l y i n v o l v e d w i t h George and M a r t h a ' s s i t u a t i o n . He demands t h a t h i s a u d i e n c e c o n s i d e r t h e c h a r a c -• t e r s f r o m v a r i o u s v a n t a g e - p o i n t s and work w i t h a range o f emotions r u n n i n g f r o m t h e comic t o t h e t r a g i c 5 t h e e f f e c t i s t o s i m u l a t e t h e c o m p l e x i t y and c o n f u s i o n t h a t o f t e n p r e d o m i n a t e s human r e l a t i o n s h i p s , a c o m p l e x i t y and c o n f u s i o n t h a t i s u s u a l l y marked by e l a b o r a t e g a m e - p l a y i n g . A l b e e ' s use o f t h e p l a y as a game i s a l s o seen i n h i s m i x i n g o f t h e a t r i c a l t e c h n i q u e s w h i c h a t t e m p t s s i m u l t a n e o u s l y t o i n v o l v e and d i s t a n c e t h e a u d i e n c e . J u s t as t h e a u d i e n c e i s p r e v e n t e d f r o m " p i c k i n g a w i n n e r " by h a v i n g b o t h George and M a r t h a a p p e a l t o i t s s y m p a t h i e s , t h e a u d i e n c e i s p r e v e n t e d f r o m p l a c i n g t h e p l a y w i t h i n a d e f i n i t e d r a m a t i c t r a d i t i o n b y A l b e e ' s d e l i b e r a t e f u s i o n o f t h e t e c h n i q u e s o f N a t u r a l i s t i c and A b s u r d t h e a t r e . The c o m b i n a t i o n undermines t h e r e a l i s m o f t h e s t a g e i l l u s i o n and p r e v e n t s t h e a u d i e n c e f r o m t h e s u s p e n s i o n o f d i s b e l i e f t h a t m i g h t i n h i b i t i t s i n t e l l e c t u a l u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e p l a y . M o r e o v e r , t h e f u s i o n i s a ^ N e l s o n , p. 187. - 102 -d i r e c t f o r m a l e x t e n s i o n o f one o f t h e p l a y ' s ' m a j o r themes, i . e . , t h e n e c e s s i t y f o r ah.awareness o f i l l u s i o n . T h i s i s n o t t o s a y t h a t A l b e e . does n o t d e s i r e i n t e r m i t t e n t e m o t i o n a l i n v o l v e m e n t w i t h t h e c h a r a c t e r s . j and w i t h t h e i l l u s i o n o f r e a l i t y w h i c h b o t h he and t h e y c o n s t r u c t ; s u c h i n v o l v e m e n t i s n e c e s s a r y i f o n l y t h a t i t may be undermined. T h e , c o n f u s i o n o f i l l u s i o n and r e a l i t y i n l i f e and t h e " r e l a t i v e t r u t h " o f many i l l u s i o n s a r e themes t h a t t h e p l a y c a r e f u l l y d e v e l o p s . By a l t e r n a t e l y becoming i n v o l v e d and d i s t a n c e d f r o m t h e s t a g e i l l u s i o n , , t h e ' a u d i e n c e i s f o r c e d t o a p p r e c i a t e t h e s e themes i n r e l a t i o n t o i t s e l f , e x p e r i e n c i n g t h e " r e a l i t y " t h a t i l l u s i o n s c a n a c h i e v e . F u r t h e r m o r e , t h e d e s i r e f o r a v i c a r i o u s - e x p e r -i e n c i n g ; o f l i f e w h i c h t h e a u d i e n c e s h a r e s w i t h N i c k and Honey i s exposed as t h e a u d i e n c e i s r e m i n d e d t h a t t h e " l i f e " i t e x p e r i e n c e s i n t h e t h e a t r e i s o n l y a n i l l u s i o n , a f o r m o f s u b s t i t u t e f o r l i f e o u t s i d e t h e t h e a t r e . The • p l a y can t h u s be s e e n as a game, w h i c h i s a l a r g e r . v e r s i o n o f t h e games i t . c o n t a i n s . ^ The audience,, t h e n , i s . as much a " p l a y e r " as any o f t h e c h a r a c t e r s . Because a degree o f b e l i e f i n t h e s t a g e i l l u s i o n i s r e q u i r e d i n Who's  A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? , t h e p l a y i s p l a c e d w i t h i n a-one-room s e t t h a t i s i n t h e N a t u r a l i s t i c t r a d i t i o n . • A l s o f o r t h i s reason,, t h e c h a r a c t e r s are. . d e v e l o p e d as " r e a l " p e o p l e and n o t as c a r i c a t u r e s as t h e y a r e i n The A m e r i c a n  Bream. As E m i l Roy w r i t e s : 14-This i d e a r e c e i v e s p h y s i c a l r e p r e s e n t a t i o n i n T i n y A l i c e i n w h i c h t h e room c o n s t r u c t e d by t h e s t a g e s e t i s i d e n t i c a l t o a room i n t h e model .house s i t t i n g i n t h e s e t . - 103 -The d r i n k i n g , v o m i t i n g and s e x u a l o b s e s -s i o n j t h e a l l u s i o n s t o d i s e a s e , i n s a n i t y , and a n i m a l i s m ; and t h e h i g h l y c o l l o q u i a l , p r o f a n e , and s p e c i f i c l a n g u a g e a l l p l a c e A l b e e i n " t h e n a t u r a l i s t i c m a i n s t r e a m o f W i l l i a m s and O ' N e i l l . 15 A n o t h e r i n t e r e s t i n g f a c t a b out Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a Woolf?' i s i t s o b s e r v a n c e o f t h e A r i s t o t e l i a n u n i t i e s o f Time, P l a c e and A c t i o n . The a c t i o n i n t h e p l a y t a k e s p l a c e w i t h i n one room and i s r e s t r i c t e d t o , a p p r o x i m a t e l y , a f o u r - h o u r p e r i o d b e g i n n i n g , as George n o t e s , " a f t e r two o ' c l o c k i n t h e m o r n i n g " (p.10) and c o n t i n u i n g t h r o u g h t o dawn. A l b e e even i n t r o d u c e s a Messenger ( t h e cable-boy> C r a z y B i l l y , whom George p r e t e n d s has made a c a l l ) and has t h e murder o f t h e "son" — i . e . , h i s . " a c c i d e n t " — o c c u r o f f - s t a g e i n t h e b e s t Greek t r a d i t i o n . I n a d d i t i o n , A l b e e u s e s many scenes w h i c h a r e c o n v e n t i o n a l t o t h e N a t u r a l i s t i c t r a d i t i o n ^ f b £ Z ~ > example, George's e a v e s d r o p p i n g scene ( p . l 6 5 ) ; t h e p a i r e d c o u p l e ' s b e t r a y a l o f e a c h o t h e r ( M a r t h a b e t r a y s George t o N i c k , N i c k b e t r a y s Honey t o G e o r g e ) . F u r t h e r m o r e , t h e p l a y - w i t h i n - a - p l a y t e c h n i q u e t h a t i s d e v e l o p e d b y t h e c h a r a c t e r s ' g a m e - p l a y i n g i s a c o n v e n t i o n l o n g t r a d i t i o n a l t o comedy. Related t o t h i s > t h e p l a y i n g o f r o l e s i n t h e p l a y i s a t y p e o f masquerade — i . e . , a d o n n i n g o f s o c i a l masks — t h a t i s a l s o t r a d i t i o n a l t o comedy. T h i s c o n v e n t i o n , however, l i k e a l l t h e o t h e r s t h a t g i v e t h e p l a y i t s " r e a l i s t i c " , a p p e a r a n c e , i s u s e d f o r a d i f f e r e n t p u r p o s e and t o a d i f f e r e n t e f f e c t t h a n i t i s i n i t s t r a d i t i o n a l c o n t e x t . 1 ^ I t i s us e d t o undermine i t s e l f and the. -^"Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? and t h e T r a d i t i o n , " B a c k n e l l R e v i e w , H I I , i , p. 2 9 l ^ S e e page 68. - 104 -t y p e o f " f a m i l y 1 1 p l a y w i t h w h i c h i t i s a s s o c i a t e d . The " r e a l i s t i c " t e c h n i q u e s o f t h e p l a y are' u s e d o n l y t o i n v o l v e t h e a u d i e n c e w i t h t h e d r a m a t i c i l l u s i o n t o t h e degree t h a t t h e a u d i e n c e c a n be j a r r e d o u t o f i t . The " j a r r i n g , " p r o d u c e d b y t h e i n t r o d u c t i o n o f " i n t e r r u p t i v e " devices-'-''' c o n v e n t i o n a l t o A b s u r d and E p i c T h e a t r e s , has t h e e f f e c t o f u p s e t t i n g t h e a u d i e n c e by f o r c i n g i t t o n o t i c e t h e d r a m a t i c i l l u s i o n . A l b e e changes t h e r u l e s o f t h e d r a m a t i c game i n o r d e r t o draw a t t e n t i o n t o i t . The t e c h n i q u e i s . f i t t i n g , , f o r b e s i d e s d r a w i n g a t t e n t i o n t o t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p between i l l u s i o n and r e a l i t y , i t n e c e s s i t a t e s t h e a u d i e n c e ' s i n v o l v e m e n t w i t h t h e i s s u e s t h e p l a y p r e s e n t s . B a s i c a l l y , t h e i n t e r r u p t i v e d e v i c e s o f Who 1s A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? r e s u l t f r o m t h e e x a g g e r a t e d g a m e - p l a y i n g o f t h e c h a r a c t e r s . George's e n t r a n c e w i t h t h e t o y s h o t g u n t h a t c o n t a i n s a p a r a s o l i s an a t t e n t i o n - e l i c i t i n g game; but u n t i l George p u l l s t h e t r i g g e r , no one, l e a s t o f a l l t h e a u d i e n c e , r e a l i z e s t h i s . Honey's r e a c t i o n t o t h e i n c i d e n t i s t y p i c a l o f t h e f e e l i n g s , i f n o t t h e a c t i o n s , o f many i n t h e a u d i e n c e . She " s c r e a m s . . . r i s e s " ; a f t e r t h e p a r a s o l " b l o s s o m s , " she "screams a g a i n , and m o s t l y f r o m r e l i e f and  c o n f u s i o n " (p.57). Her c o n f u s i o n h e r e i s a l o g i c a l r e a c t i o n t o George's i l l o g i c a l a c t i o n . George and M a r t h a a r e h a v i n g a b i t t e r argument i n w h i c h M a r t h a i s h u m i l i a t i n g George beyond endurance. George's e n t r a n c e w i t h a -'-'''The t e r m i s borrowed f r o m E r i c B e n t l e y who, d i s c u s s i n g E p i c T h e a t r e , w r i t e s : " t h e p l a y w r i g h t . . . b r i n g s back c h o r i c commentary b y i n t r o d u c i n g n a r r a t o r s , songs, s o l i l o q u i e s and o t h e r , : i n t e r r u p t i v e " d e v i c e s . " See The P l a y w r i g h t As T h i n k e r (New Y o r k : W o r l d P u b l i s h i n g Co., 1955), p.217. - 105 - , . gun, t h o u g h m e l o d r a m a t i c , i s n o t a n t i c i p a t e d as a j o k e . Then, when i t becomes o b v i o u s t h a t i t i s . o n l y " i n f u n , " i t becomes u n f u n n y a g a i n as i t i s r e c o g n i z e d as symptomatic o f u n d e r l y i n g h o s t i l i t i e s . T h i s " c o n f u s i o n " a l s o accompanies t h e i n t e r r u p t i v e d e v i c e s i n t h e 'play. F o r example, George's e n t r a n c e w i t h t h e snap-dragons i n A c t T h r e e , a n e n t r a n c e w h i c h A l b e e d e s c r i b e s as " a l m o s t m a n i c , " i s c o n f u s i n g i n i t s " u n r e a l i s t i c " s u d deness. The b a n g i n g chimes w h i c h p r e c e d e George's e n t r a n c e s t r i k e t h e j a r r i n g i n t e r r u p t i v e note w h i c h t h e sequence d e v e l o p s . The b i z a r r e q u a l i t y o f t h e i n c i d e n t . i n w h i c h George f i r s t speaks w i t h t h e " h i d e o u s l y c r a c k e d  f a l s e t t o " (p«195): o f a f l o w e r - p e d d l e r , t h e n w i t h t h e embarrassed h e s i t a n c y o f an a d o l e s c e n t , i s c o m p l i c a t e d by George's d e l i b e r a t e r e f e r e n c e t o N i c k as h i s s o n (whom he has a l r e a d y d e c i d e d i s dead),: by M a r t h a ' s r e f e r e n c e t o N i c k as t h e houseboy, and by George and M a r t h a ' s r e d i t i o n o f "I'm nobody's houseboy now" .(p.195). The e f f e c t o f t h e i n c i d e n t w h i c h t a k e s p l a c e i n a m a t t e r o f m i n u t e s i s more " a b s u r d " t h a n " r e a l i s t i c , " i l l u s t r a t i n g t h e e x a g g e r a t e d degree t o w h i c h George and M a r t h a p l a y t h e i r games. I t u n d e r -mines t h e s t a g e i l l u s i o n by i n t e r r u p t i n g t h e pace and f l o w o f " r e a l i s t i c " a c t i o n and d i a l o g u e t h a t has i n v o l v e d t h e a u d i e n c e ; t h e a u d i e n c e i s s u d d e n l y f o r c e d t o r e - e x a m i n e t h e s i t u a t i o n and t o r e - e s t a b l i s h t h e n a t u r e o f t h e s t a g e i l l u s i o n . The snap-dragon i n c i d e n t i s c o n t i n u e d b y o t h e r t e c h n i q u e s t h a t a r e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f A b s u r d T h e a t r e ; J t h a t i s , b y t h e i l l o g i c a l j u x t a p o s i t i o n P - 106 -o f d i a l o g u e and a c t i o n and an i n c o n g r u o u s a t t e n t i o n t o i r r e l e v a n t d e t a i l . The i n t e r r u p t i v e and c o n f u s i n g n a t u r e o f t h e i n c i d e n t i s m a i n t a i n e d as George and M a r t h a become a b s o r b e d i n a , d i a l o g u e about t h e moon: George i n s i s t s t h e r e i s a moon o u t and M a r t h a i n s i s t s t h e r e i s n o t . A l t h o u g h t h e d i a l o g u e has s i g n i f i c a n c e i n t h a t i t r e l a t e s t o t h e q u e s t i o n o f i l l u s i o n and r e a l i t y — George s a y s "You must n o t c a l l e v e r y t h i n g a l i e , M a r t h a " (p.199) and s u g g e s t s t h e " t r u t h " o f t h e a c c i d e n t he i s p l a n n i n g t o r e l a t e — i t i s c o m p l e t e l y i l l o g i c a l a t t h e moment and i s f u n n y because o f t h i s . . I n i t s e f f e c t , i t r e s e m b l e s much o f t h e d i a l o g u e i n t h e f i r s t a c t o f I o n e s c o ' s R h i n o c e r o s . J u s t as t h e i n h a b i t a n t s o f t h e s m a l l town i n t h e l a t t e r p l a y become u n d u l y c o n c e r n e d w i t h t h e h o r n o r h o r n s on t h e r h i n o c e r o s * h e ads, George and M a r t h a become u n d u l y c o n c e r n e d about a d e t a i l w h i c h t h e y c o u l d j u s t as soon d e t e r m i n e as d e b a t e . The i n c o n g r u i t y o f t h e s i t u a t i o n , as w e l l as t h e i l l o g i c a l , development o f t h e i d e a s , c o n t i n u e s t i e c o n f u s i o n o f t h e i n t e r r u p t i v e d e v i c e and m o m e n t a r i l y changes t h e " r e a l i s t i c " s i t u a t i o n i n t o a n " a b s u r d " one. The i n c i d e n t r e a c h e s i t s c l i m a x when "George swoops  down, p i c k s up t h e bunch o f s n a p d r a g o n s , shakes them l i k e a f e a t h e r d u s t e r  i n N i c k ' s f a c e " (p.201) and t h e n p r o c e e d s t o t h r o w t h e f l o w e r s " s p e a r - l i k e , " (p.203) about t h e room. The snap-dragons t h u s become p h y s i c a l symbols o f t h e s p e a r - l i k e power t h a t t h e word "snap" has assumed s i n c e M a r t h a ' s use o f i t i n A c t Two ( p . 1 5 7 ) . F o l l o w i n g t h i s , t h e a b s u r d i t y o f t h e s i t u a t i o n s u b s i d e s , h a v i n g been pushed t o i t s extreme ( i . e . , a c t i o n e x t e n d i n g d i a l o g u e ) . The a u d i e n c e i s q u i c k l y r e d r a w n i n t o t h e s t a g e i l l u s i o n , b u t - 107 -t h i s i l l u s i o n h a s now become more e x a g g e r a t e d and e m o t i o n a l a a a r e s u l t o f t h e A b s u r d t e c h n i q u e . The c h a r a c t e r s have become more h y s t e r i c a l , "manic,:" t o use. Albee's. term.. M a r t h a h a s become f r i g h t e n e d b y G e o r g e 1 s appearance and a n t i c i p a t o r y o f what i s t o f o l l o w ; she s a y s " I d o n ' t l i k e what's g o i n g t o happen" ( p . 2 0 6 ) . The i n t e r r u p t i v e n a t u r e o f t h e snap-dragon scene has p r e p a r e d t h e a u d i e n c e f o r b o t h t h e i n t e l l e c t u a l and e m o t i o n a l i m p a c t o f t h i s game. The scene h a s had t h e d o u b l e e f f e c t o f f i r s t u n d e r m i n i n g the. s t a g e i l l u s i o n and t e m p o r a r i l y a l i e n a t i n g t h e a u d i e n c e and t h e n i n t e n s i f y i n g t h e a c t i o n and e l e v a t i n g t h e " r e a l i t y " o f t h e 18 i l l u s i o n t o a more h y s t e r i c a l p i t c h . A l though- a d i s c u s s i o n o f A b s u r d t e c h n i q u e s i n Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a  W o o l f ? i s n e c e s s a r y f o r an u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e way i n w h i c h t h e p l a y "works" s u c h a d i s c u s s i o n i s n o t meant t o r e f u t e the. r e a l i t y t h a t t h e p l a y c o n s t r u c t s f o r t h e a u d i e n c e . On t h e c o n t r a r y , a d i s c u s s i o n o f A l b e e ' s f u s i o n o f t e c h n i q u e s a t t e m p t s t o e x p l a i n t h e amazing i m p a c t t h a t t h e p l a y a c h i e v e s , ah i m p a c t t h a t h as i n t e l l e c t u a l d e p t h as w e l l a s e m o t i o n a l i n t e n s i t y . A l b e e ' s f u s i o n o f t e c h n i q u e s i s r e s p o n s i b l e f o r t h i s i m p a c t , h e i g h t e n i n g t h e r e a l i s m o f t h e d r a m a t i c i l l u s i o n b y t h e use o f t e c h n i q u e s t h a t s t r i v e t o e x p r e s s " t h e s e n s e l e s s n e s s o f t h e human c o n d i t i o n and t h e i n a d e q u a c y o f r a t i o n a l l c a p p r o a c h b y t h e open abandonment o f r a t i o n a l d e v i c e s and d i s c u r s i v e t h o u g h t . " A l b e e i s n o t w r i t i n g f o r t h e T h e a t r e o f t h e A b s u r d i n Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a The i n t e n s i f y i n g o f t h e . a c t i o n a g a i n s u g g e s t s t h e s i m i l a r i t y o f A l b e e ' s d r a m a t i c a e s t h e t i c t o t h a t o f I o n e s c o who has w r i t t e n : " I t r y t o b r i n g , a b o u t a p r o g r e s s i o n by a k i n d o f p r o g r e s s i v e c o n d e n s a t i o n o f s t a t e s o f mind, o f a f e e l i n g , a s i t u a t i o n , an a n x i e t y . . . T h e t e x t i s m e r e l y a p r o p , a p r e t e x t f o r t h i s i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n . " Quoted i n E s s l i n , The T h e a t r e o f  t h e A b s u r d (New l o r k : A nchor Books, 1 9 6 1 ) , p.131. _ 1 9 E s s l i n , p. XX. - 108 -W o o l f ? but. he I s u s i n g t e c h n i q u e s a s s o c i a t e d -with i t , a s w e l l a s t e c h n i q u e s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h E p i c T h e a t r e , t o i n c r e a s e t h e e f f e c t o f h i s p l a y . And, as E m i l Roy w r i t e s , That A l b e e s h o u l d f u s e t h e c o n v e n t i o n s . . . i n a u n i q u e l y o r i g i n a l way i s i n i t -s e l f , a t r a d i t i o n a l a c c o m p l i s h m e n t . T h i s m erger o f d i v e r g e n t c o n v e n t i o n s i n t o an o r i g i n a l , c o h e r e n t work o f a r t seems t o be. a p e c u l i a r d i s t i n c t i o n o f A m e r i c a n drama a t i t s b e s t . 2 0 The merger o f d i v e r g e n t c o n v e n t i o n s - i n Who 1s A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? i s most n o t i c e a b l e i n A c t Three. Here t h e use o f c h u r c h r i t u a l w i t h i n t h e m i d d l e — c l a s s A m e r i c a n l i v i n g - r o o m prompts E l i z a b e t h P h i l l i p s t o w r i t e : " A b s u r d i t y r e a c h e s i t s l o w e s t depth...redeemed f r o m i n t o l e r a b l e blasphemy o n l y b y t h e v a l i d i t y o f i t s p s y c h o l o g i c a l p u r p o s e . " 2 ^ M i s s P h i l l i p s i s wrong i n s a y i n g t h a t a b s u r d i t y r e a c h e s i t s " l o w e s t d e p t h " i n t h i s s c e n e j on (-'the c o n t r a r y , i t r e a c h e s i t s h i g h e s t l e v e l , e l e v a t i n g t h e p l a y t o t h e degree t h a t i t becomes a r i t e , a l i e n a t i n g t h e audience, b y t h e use o f a r i t u a l o u t o f i t s a c c e p t e d c o n t e x t (making i t t h u s an o b v i o u s a n d macabre game) andj a t t h e same t i m e , i n v o l v i n g t h e a u d i e n c e b y a p p e a l i n g t o i t i n a n o n - r a t i o n a l ^ a n d n o n - d i s c u r s i v e way. R i t u a l j p a r t i c u l a r l y a s i t i s p r a c t i c e d i n t h e Roman C a t h o l i c c h u r c h , a p p e a l s t o t h e p a r t i c i p a n t 1 s d e s i r e f o r n o n - i n t e l l e c t u a l i n v o l v e m e n t ; t h e p a r t i c i p a n t s u r r e n d e r s as much t o t h e sound o f t h e r i t u a l l 2 0"Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? And t h e T r a d i t i o n , " p..27. 21 " A l b e e and t h e T h e a t r e o f the. A b s u r d , " Tennessee S t u d i e s i n L i t e r a t u r e , No.Z ( 1 9 6 5 ) j pp.79-80. - 109 -c h a n t and t o t h e r e c o g n i z e d movements o f t h e P r i e s t a s t o t h e meaning o f t h e words o r t h e s y m b o l i c s i g n i f i c a n c e o f the a c t i o n . The use o f r i t u a l i s t i c e f f e c t s s u c h as c h a n t s w h i c h i n v o l v e r e p e t i t i o n and rhyme as w e l l as movement and a c t i o n w h i c h i s s t y l i z e d t o t h e p o i n t o f dance has become a m a j o r t e c h n i q u e o f s u c h A b s u r d p l a y s as Anne J e l l i c o e ' s The S p o r t o f My Mad M o t h e r . To a l e s s o b v i o u s d e g r e e , many o f t h e exchanges i n B e c k e t t ' s W a i t i n g f o r Godot and i n H a r o l d P i n t e r ' s The C a r e t a k e r have a r i t u a l i s t i c e f f e c t t h a t r e s u l t s f r o m t h e i r r h y m i n g n a t u r e and t h e i r f r e q u e n t r e p e t i t i o n . F o r example, note t h e f o l l o w i n g exchange between V l a d i m i r and E s t r a g o n i n W a i t i n g f o r Godot; ESTEAGON; L e t ' s go. VLADIMIR: We c a n ' t . ESTRAGON: Why n o t ? VLADIMIR: We're w a i t i n g f o r G o d o t . 2 That r i t u a l s h o u l d be u s e d i n t h e " e x o r c i s m " scene o f Who's A f r a i d o f  V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? i s p a r t i c u l a r l y e f f e c t i v e f o r i t i n v o l v e s t h e a u d i e n c e w i t h M a r t h a ' s p r o b l e m a t t h e same t i m e t h a t i t d i s t a n c e s t h e a u d i e n c e f r o m t h e same p r o b l e m . M o r e o v e r , i t i s f i t t i n g t h a t r i t u a l , a t e c h n i q u e o f A b s u r d T h e a t r e , s h o u l d be u s e d t o e x o r c i s e t h e s o n - i l l u s i o n w h i c h i s t h e b a s i c a b s u r d i t y o f t h e p l a y , a n a b s u r d i t y based on " t h e a s s u m p t i o n t h a t George and M a r t h a c o u l d have c o n c e a l e d t h e i r s e c r e t f o r o v e r t w e n t y y e a r s . " 2 3 2 n S a m u e l B e c k e t t , W a i t i n g f o r Godot (New Y o r k : E v e r g r e e n B o o k s , 1954), p.10. 2 3 R o y , pp.32-33. --110 -W i t h i n t h e s t a g e i l l u s i o n , s u c h an a b s u r d i t y , w h i c h i s no more odd t h a t Oedipus'" famous' complex o r L e a r ' s w o r l d - w e a r i n e s s , c e a s e s t o be i m p o r t a n t when t h e d i a l o g u e and a c t i o n become r e a l i n t h e i r i m p a c t . When, however, a s i n t h i s , s c e n e , a d e v i c e i s u s e d w h i c h i s o b v i o u s l y not. r e a l to, the. s i t u a t i o n , t h e e f f e c t i s t o emphasize t h e i l l u s i o n s upon w h i c h t h e p l a y i s b a s e d and t o h e i g h t e n . t h e g r o t e s q u e a b s u r d i t y t h a t s u c h i l l u s i o n s , c o n s t i t u t e . George i s n o t a p r i e s t : h i s q u o t i n g t h e D i e s I r a e w h i l e M a r t h a f r a n t i c a l l y a s s e r t s t h e a c t u a l i t y o f t h e i r - 'son" f o r c e s t h e a u d i e n c e t o r e a l i z e t h a t M a r t h a I s n o t a m other and t o g r a s p t h e p a i n f u l i r o n y t h a t many o f h e r l i n e s c o n s e q u e n t l y have. J u s t as game d e s t r o y s game and i l l u s i o n ' s h a t t e r s . i l l u s i o n , a b s u r d i t y i n d i c a t e s a b s u r d i t y . T h i s becomes most o b v i o u s when M a r t h a demands t o see t h e t e l e g r a m t h a t b r o u g h t t h e news o f h e r •"son's" d e a t h . She s a y s , "Show me t h e t e l e g r a m I" and George r e p l i e s " I a t e i t " ( p . 234-). The a b s u r d i t y of h i s l i n e a c c e n t u a t e s t h e a b s u r d i t y o f t h e s i t u a t i o n and a l i e n a t e s t h e a u d i e n c e t o t h e degree t h a t i t c a n a p p r e c i a t e t h e m u l t i p l e i r o n i e s t h a t .are, o c c u r r i n g . George d i d n o t e a t t h e telegram- because t h e r e was no. t e l e g r a m : t h e i r o n y i s t h a t M a r t h a knows t h i s b u t c a n n o t acknowledge i t w i t h o u t a d m i t t i n g t h a t t h e r e was no " s o n " e i t h e r , l i c k , who i s s t i l l unaware o f t h e " f a m i l y " game, s a y s t o George, "Do y o u t h i n k t h a t ' s t h e way to. t r e a t h e r a t a time, l i k e , t h i s ? M a k i n g an ugly goddamn joke l i k e that?." (p.234). H i s c a l l i n g G e o r g e ^ l i n e a " j o k e " and i m p l y i n g i t s i n c o n g r u i t y a t t e s t s t o t h e i n t e r r u p t i v e e f f e c t t h a t t h e l i n e h a s . To a degree^ t h e l i n e p r o v i d e s "comic, r e l i e f " f o r M a r t h a ' s " e x o r c i s m j " s u c h r e l i e f , h owever, comic - I l l -b e c a u s e o f i t s a b s u r d i t y , ' has an a l i e n a t i n g e f f e c t on the. a u d i e n c e . Such a l i e n a t i o n a l l o w s t h e a u d i e n c e to. o b s e r v e t h e f i n a l scene between George and M a r t h a more c l e a r l y t h a n i t m i g h t have i f i t had been com-p l e t e l y i n v o l v e d w i t h t h e c o u p l e ' s s i t u a t i o n . The use o f r i t u a l i n A c t Three i s n o t an i s o l a t e d o c c u r r e n c e i n t h e p l a y . As h a s a l r e a d y been n o t e d , many o f t h e s u r f a c e games a r e p l a y e d so o f t e n t h a t t h e y become r i t u a l s * I n a d d i t i o n , t h e use o f r e p e t i t i o n and rhyme i n t h e p l a y o f t e n p r o v i d e s r i t u a l i s t i c e f f e c t s . F o r example, t h e " f a m i l i a r dance" (p.131) t h a t N i c k and M a r t h a p e r f o r m i n A c t Two g a i n s i t s . r i t u a l i s t i c e f f e c t f r o m t h e r e p e t i t i o n o f p h r a s e s and t h e u s e o f rhyme a s much a s f r o m i t s r e c o g n i z a b l e p h y s i c a l moves. As M a r t h a and N i c k " u n d u l a t e  c o n g r u e n t l y " ( p . 1 3 1 ) , t h e f o l l o w i n g d i a l o g u e o c c u r s : MARTHA: I l i k e . the. way y o u move. NICK: I l i k e t h e way y o u move, t o o . GEORGE: (To Honey) They l i k e t h e way t h e y move. The p h r a s e s e s t a b l i s h a rhyme t h a t b e a t s i n t i m e t o t h e m u s i c and adds v e r b a l accompaniment t o t h e dance. As A l b e e s t a t e s i n h i s d i r e c t i o n s : " P e r h a p s M a r t h a ' s s t a t e m e n t s a r e more .or l e s s i n t i m e to. t h e m u s i c " ( p . 1 3 2 ) . S i m i l a r l y , t h e s t a t e m e n t s made b y t h e o t h e r c h a r a c t e r s a r e s h o r t and f r e q u e n t l y have t h e same s y l l a b i c l e n g t h . F o r Example: GEORGE: I warn you...don't encourage h e r . MARTHA: He warns you...don't encourage me. NICK: I h e a r h i m . . . t e l l me more. (P.133) - 112 -As t h e " v e r y o l d r i t u a l " (p.131) r e a c h e s i t s c l i m a x , M a r t h a ' s s p e e c h becomes " c o n s c i o u s l y " (p.133) rhymed, p r o d u c i n g a chant e f f e c t t h a t i s i n v o l v i n g f o r b o t h t h e c h a r a c t e r s and t h e a u d i e n c e . But a l t h o u g h t h e a u d i e n c e becomes i n v o l v e d w i t h t h e r i t u a l because o f i t s r h y t h m i c sound and movement, i t a l s o becomes aware o f t h i s v e r y sound and movement because o f i t s s p e c i a l i z e d n a t u r e , i t s d e p a r t u r e f r o m t h e language and a c t i o n t h a t f o r m s t h e r e s t o f t h e p l a y . M a r t h a ' s s p e a k i n g i n rhymed c o u p l e t s matches t h e p h y s i c a l "rhyme" she i s I n i t i a t i n g w i t h N i c k . As s u c h , i t i s r e p r e s e n -t a t i v e o f t h e c o n n e c t i o n s a n d , more d e e p l y , t h e c o m m u n i c a t i o n t h a t she s e e k s . Because she i s , i n a s e n s e , a l r e a d y c o n n e c t i n g w i t h N i c k , h e r s p e e c h becomes as c o m p l e t e d as i t does i n t h e p l a y ; m o r e o v e r , i t becomes c o m p l e t e i n a s t y l i z e d way. Her r h y m i n g l i n e s a r e i n d i r e c t c o n t r a s t t o t h e u n f i n i s h e d s p e e c h e s , b r o k e n l i n e s and h e s i t a n t d e l i v e r i e s t h a t mark much o f t h e d i a l o g u e i n t h e p l a y . When M a r t h a i s l e a s t " c o n n e c t i v e " a t t h e end o f t h e p l a y , when she i s s t r i p p e d o f i l l u s i o n s and f a c e d w i t h h e r i s o l a t e r e a l i t y , h e r s p e e c h i s i t s most i n a r t i c u l a t e and f r a g m e n t a r y ; b e s i d e s h e r s c a n t y " y e s " and "no," she speaks b r o k e n l y , s a y i n g ^ f o r example, " I ' m . . . n o t . . . s u r e " ( p . 2 4 1 ) . Her rhyme i n t i m e t o t h e m u s i c , a l t h o u g h i n v o l v i n g because o f i t s r e p e t i t i o n and r h y t h m , i s , a t t h e same t i m e , d i s t a n c i n g . I t a g a i n makes t h e a u d i e n c e aware o f t h e d r a m a t i c i l l u s i o n b y i n t e r r u p t i n g t h e e s t a b l i s h e d f l o w o f d i a l o g u e and a c t i o n . - 113 -Al t h o u g h , t h e r e a r e o t h e r A b s u r d t e c h n i q u e s i n t h e p l a y , f e w have t h e i n t e r r u p t i v e q u a l i t y o f t h o s e a l r e a d y d i s c u s s e d . They do, however, have a c u m u l a t i v e e f f e c t t h a t h e l p s t o undermine t h e p l a y ' s o s t e n s i b l y N a t u r a l i s t i c appearance and t o emphasize i t s d i v e r g e n c e f r o m t h e t y p i c a l " f a m i l y " drama. The t i t l e song o f r i d i c u l e , r e p e a t e d a t v a r i o u s p o i n t s t h r o u g h o u t t h e p l a y , i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f t h e double meaning t h a t u n d e r l i e s t h e p l a y ' s many v e r b a l games. George and M a r t h a ' s r e p a r t e e ( a s on pages L 4 and 1 5 ) , t h e use o f songs s u c h as " J u s t a g i g o l o " ( p . 1 9 5 ) and "I'm Nobody's houseboy now" ( p . 1 9 6 ) , and t h e v i s u a l "gimmicks" o f t h e s h o t g u n and snapdragons a r e a l l t e c h n i q u e s borrowed f r o m t h e m u s i c -h a l l and a s s o c i a t e d w i t h T h e a t r e o f t h e A b s u r d . I n a d d i t i o n , t h e monologues i n t h e p l a y , s u c h as George's s t o r y about t h e boy who o r d e r e d " b e r g i n " ( p « 9 5 ) j and M a r t h a ' s s o l i l o q u y a t t h e b e g i n n i n g o f A c t T h r e e , a r e as u n t y p i c a l o f drawing-room dramas i n t h e i r f o r m as t h e y a r e i n t h e i r c o n t e n t . F o r example, M a r t h a ' s s o l i l o q u y c o n t a i n s a " d i a l o g u e " i n w h i c h she i m p e r -s o n a t e s George s p e a k i n g w i t h h e r . I t a l s o c o n t a i n s t h e b a b y - t a l k w h i c h t y p i f i e s h e r c h i l d - r o l e . A g a i n , t h e s e f o r m s d e v e l o p Out o f t h e c h a r a c t e r s ' e l a b o r a t e g a m e - p l a y i n g and a r e e x t e n s i o n s o f t h e r o l e s t h e y assume. These, i n t u r n , emphasize t h e i r o n y o f t h e whole t h e a t r e s i t u a t i o n , p i l i n g i m p e r -s o n a t i o n upon i m p e r s o n a t i o n . I n r e l a t i o n t o t h i s , i t i s s i g n i f i c a n t t h a t b o t h A c t s One and Three b e g i n w i t h M a r t h a ' s i m p e r s o n a t i o n o f someone e l s e . A c t Two b e g i n s w i t h George's d e l i b e r a t e c o n f u s i o n o f M a r t h a and Honey. A l l t h r e e c a s e s demand t h a t a u d i e n c e q u i c k l y work t o . e s t a b l i s h t h e t y p e o f - 114 -( i l l u s i o n w i t h w h i c h i t i s d e a l i n g j t h e a u d i e n c e I s n o t l e d g e n t l y a n d c l e a r l y i n t o e a c h a c t b u t i s p u l l e d i n , so t o speak, i n e a c h c a s e b y a d i f f e r e n t t y p e o f game. I n such a way, games become a m a j o r component Of t h e p l a y 1 s a t r u c t u r e . A g a i n i t must be e m p h a s i z e d t h a t A l b e e ' s u s e o f t h e p l a y a s a game i s a n a t t e m p t t o undermine t h e s t a g e i l l u s i o n b y i n t e r m i t t . i m t l y a l i e n a t i n g t h e a u d i e n c e . The a u d i e n c e t h u s becomes aware not' o n l y o f t h e c h a r a c t e r s ' s u s c e p t i b i l i t y t o i l l u s i o n s and g a m e - p l a y i n g b u t o f i t s own s u s c e p t i b i l i t y t o i l l u s i o n a n d g a m e - p l a y i n g as r e p r e s e n t e d b y t h e t h e a t r e e x p e r i e n c e . Such an awareness e x t e n d s t h e i l l u s i o n - r e a l i t y themes o f t h e p l a y and n e c e s s i t a t e s t h e a u d i e n c e ' s r e - e x a m i n a t i o n o f i t s i d e a s a b out c o n t e m p o r a r y A m e r i c a n l i f e . . The. " f a m i l y p i c t u r e " t h a t . has. been p r e s e n t e d on t h e s t a g e a t t a c k s t h e c o n v e n t i o n a l i d e a s o f the. A m e r i c a n f a m i l y t h a t a r e b a s e d on harmony, h o n e s t y and l o v e . The need f o r communication and u n d e r -s t a n d i n g , and t h e f e a r o f p a i n and r e j e c t i o n t h a t u n d e r l i e many o f t h e games p e o p l e p l a y have b e e n s u g g e s t e d b y t h e d e f e n s i v e and o f f e n s i v e games o f t h e c h a r a c t e r s . M o r e o v e r j t h e h y p o c r i s y and a r t i f i c i a l i t y t h a t mark many o f t h e s e games a s w e l l as t h e v i o l e n c e and s e x u a l i t y t h a t t h e y o f t e n d i s c l o s e a r e e x a g g e r a t e d so a s t o r e c e i v e emphasis. F u r t h e r m o r e , t h e r e a l i t y o f man's e x i s t e n c e has been i m p l i e d as a b a r r e n and m e a n i n g l e s s c o n d i t i o n t h a t i n some c a s e s n e c e s s i t a t e s a degree o f g a m e - p l a y i n g a n d a m a n i p u l a t i o n o f t h e i l l u s i o n s w h i c h games o f t e n d e v e l o p . A l w a y s , however, an awareness o f s u c h games and i l l u s i o n s i s p r e r e q u i s i t e t o t h e i r c o n t r o l . 115 -Who*s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? also suggests that the awareness of games and illusions which i s necessary for an individual'rs sanity i s also necessary for the survival of American society.. Throughout the play, frequent references to American and Western society establish a parallel between this society and George and Martha. Indeed, i t i s no accident that George bears the Christian, name of the "father" of American society, George Washington, and that Martha has the same name as his wife.. By using these names for his bickering couple, Albee demonstrates the degree to which the American family has changed since the time of George Washington* Concern-ing the marriage of George and Martha Washington, the Encyclopaedia  Britannica states* "Though i t does not seem to have been a romantic loye. match, the marriage united two harmonious temperaments and proved happy. Martha was a good housewife, an amiable companion, and a dignified hostess." The latter sentence, when considered in relation to Albee's Martha, demon-strates the dramatic difference between the two women. On the other hand, the "loveless" marriage between George and Martha Washington can perhaps be seen as similar to Albee's couple's marriagej then again, Albee's George and Martha, because of their moments of tenderness, George's concern for Martha' sanity, and Martha's admission that George is the only man who has ever made her happy (p.189), can be said to demonstrate a type of love which the Washingtons did not have. Definitely, in their childlessness, the two ^'George Washington," .Encyclopaedia Britannica,. 43rd ed. (Chicago, 1968), 23XEII, p. 239. - 116 -c o u p l e s a r e s i m i l a r . A l t h o u g h M a r t h a W a s h i n g t o n had c h i l d r e n by an 25 e a r l i e r m a r r i a g e , J she d i d n o t c o n c e i v e w i t h George. What t h i s s u g g e s t s about t h e man who "never t o l d a l i e " i s s i g n i f i c a n t when one n o t e s t h a t he a d o p t e d M a r t h a ' s c h i l d r e n "and even s i g n e d h i s l e t t e r s t o t h e boy as 'your papa'."^ A g a i n , t h e r e l a t i v e t r u t h o f i l l u s i o n i s s u g g e s t e d , a f a c t t h a t even E n c y c l o p a e d i a B r i t a n n i c a acknowledges when i t s t a t e s " H i m s e l f c h i l d l e s s , he t h u s had a r e a l f a m i l y . " 2 ' ' ' T h a t A l b e e ' s George and M a r t h a a r e meant t o be c o n s i d e r e d as modern-day f a m i l y a r c h e t y p e s i n t h e way t h a t George and M a r t h a W a s h i n g t o n have been c o n s i d e r e d A m e r i c a n a r c h e t y p e s i s s u b t l y s u g g e s t e d i n t h e p l a y . F o r example, George's speech i n A c t Two about M a r t h a ' s f a n t a s y w o r l d (p.155) c o n t a i n s t h e f o l l o w i n g l i n e ! B ut you've t a k e n a new t a s k , M a r t h a , o v e r t h e p a s t c o u p l e o f c e n t u r i e s — o r however l o n g i t ' s been s i n c e I ' v e l i v e d i n t h i s house w i t h y o u —• t h a t makes i t j u s t t o o much.... M a r t h a and George's "two hundred y e a r o l d m a r r i a g e " t a k e s them r i g h t back t o t h e perMa i n w h i c h George and M a r t h a W a s h i n g t o n were A m e r i c a ' s " F i r s t F a m i l y " (1759-1799). George, who s t a t e s " I am p r e o c c u p i e d w i t h h i s t o r y " (p.50), o f t e n d e l i v e r s speeches w h i c h a r e c o n c e r n e d w i t h A m e r i c a n s o c i e t y ; f o r example, he sa y s i n A c t Two, "We d r i n k a g r e a t d e a l i n t h i s c o u n t r y , and 2 ^ N o t e t h a t b o t h M a r t h a ' s were m a r r i e d t w i c e . 2 6 B r i t a n n i c a , ' p . 2 3 9 . 27 B r i t a n n i c a . p.239. - 117 -r I s u s p e c t w e ' l l be d r i n k i n g a g r e a t d e a l more, t o o . . . i f we s u r v i v e " (p.106). S u c h speeches t e n d t o e s t a b l i s h George as " s o c i e t y ' s p r o t e c t o r " and t o g i v e him a p a t e r n a l r o l e r e m i n i s c e n t o f George W a s h i n g t o n ' s . T h i s becomes most o b v i o u s when he d e l i v e r s a s p e e c h i n r e t a l i a t i o n t o N i c k ' s d e f i a n t "TIP YOURS!!" (p.117). i n A c t Two. He r e , George's words show h i s p a t e r n a l a t t i t u d e t o w a r d s W e s t e r n S o c i e t y a s w e l l as h i s se n s e o f i t s ' i m m i nent c o l l a p s e . He s a y s : You t a k e t h e t r o u b l e t o c o n s t r u c t . . . t o . . . t o b u i l d a s o c i e t y , b a s e d on t h e p r i n -c i p l e s o f . . . o f p r i n c i p l e . . . y o u endeavour t o make communicable sense o u t o f n a t u r a l o r d e r , m o r a l i t y o u t o f t h e u n n a t u r a l d i s -o r d e r o f man's mind...you make government and a r t and r e a l i z e t h a t t h e y a r e , must be, b o t h t h e same...you b r i n g t h i n g s t o t h e s a d d e s t o f a l l p o i n t s . . . t o t h e p o i n t where t h e r e i s som e t h i n g t o l o s e . . .thptt a l l a t onc e , t h r o u g h a l l t h e m u s i c , t h r o u g h a l l the. s e n s i b l e sounds comes t h e D i e s I r a e . And: what i s i t ? What does t h e t r u m p e t sound?' Up y o u r s , (p.117) • T h i s s p e e c h a l s o e s t a b l i s h e s t h e p a r a l l e l i s m between George and M a r t h a ' s . s i t u a t i o n and t h e s i t u a t i o n o f A m e r i c a n s o c i e t y . The " s a d d e s t o f a l l p o i n t s , " " t h e p o i n t where t h e r e i s something t o l o s e , " i s a l s o t h e p o i n t a t w h i c h George and M a r t h a ' s m a r r i a g e has a r r i v e d . The D i e s I r a e t h a t George f e e l s N i c k sounds f o r A m e r i c a n s o c i e t y , i s l a t e r o p e n l y a p p l i e d t o George and M a r t h a ' s p r e d i c a m e n t . The t h r e a t t h a t N i c k p o s e s t o W e s t e r n c i v i l i z a t i o n i n h i s r o l e as a b i o l o g i s t e x p e r i m e n t i n g w i t h t e s t - t u b e b a b i e s i s v e r b a l i z e d i n A c t One when George says "There w i l l be a c e r t a i n . . . l o s s o f l i b e r t y , 1 - 118 -i m a g i n e , as a r e s u l t o f t h i s e x p e r i m e n t . . . b u t d i v e r s i t y w i l l no l o n g e r be t h e g o a l . C u l t u r e s and r a c e s w i l l e v e n t u a l l y v a n i s h . . . t h e a n t s w i l l t a k e o v e r t h e w o r l d " (p.6 7 ) . T h i s t h r e a t i s d i r e c t l y l i n k e d t o George and M a r t h a when N i c k c o p u l a t e s w i t h M a r t h a i n A c t Two, t h e a c t becoming t h e p h y s i c a l enactment o f t h e "up y o u r s " t h r e a t . I t i s no c o i n c i d e n c e t h a t a t t h i s p o i n t A l b e e has George r e a d f r o m a book t h a t speaks o f W e s t e r n c i v i l i z a t i o n . George r e a d s a l o u d : And t h e w e s t , encumbered by c r i p p l i n g a l l i a n c e s , and burdened w i t h a m o r a l i t y t o o r i g i d t o accommodate i t s e l f t o t h e s w i n g o f e v e n t s , m u s t . . . e v e n t u a l l y . . . f a l l . ( p . 17A-) N i c k ' s c o p u l a t i o n w i t h M a r t h a who i s , i n a s e n s e , t h e mother o f A m e r i c a , i s t h e t y p e o f " c r i p p l i n g a l l i a n c e " t h a t w i l l b r i n g about t h e d e s t r u c t i o n o f b o t h t h e f a m i l y u n i t and w e s t e r n c i v i l i z a t i o n . L a t e r , when George a c t u a l l y i n t o n e s t h e D i e s I r a e i n t h e e x o r c i s m r i t u a l , t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p between t h e c o u p l e and' A m e r i c a n s o c i e t y i s made c o m p l e t e . N i c k who has sounded t h e D i e s I r a e f o r W e s t e r n s o c i e t y now " h o l d s on" (p.232) t o M a r t h a l i k e t h e " s o n " t h a t George i s t r y i n g t o e x p e l ; t h e i m p l i c a t i o n i s t h a t N i c k i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f t h e demon o r d e v i l t h a t w i l l be t h e cause o f A m e r i c a ' s " f a l l " - i f he i s n o t f i r s t e x o r c i s e d . H i s name o b v i o u s l y makes t h i s i m p l i -c a t i o n c l e a r : he i s young " o l d Nick.V. The i l l u s i o n s w h i c h g o v e r n N i c k ' s l i f e as w e l l as t h e i l l u s i o n s he r e p r e s e n t s t o s o c i e t y ( i . e . , " c l e a n - c u t , " u p s t a n d i n g , m o r a l y o u t h ) must be u n d e r s t o o d and managed o r e l s e t h e "Honey" o f A m e r i c a n l i f e w e l l be d r a i n e d o r t u r n e d s o u r . - 119 -The r e l a t i o n s h i p o f George and M a r t h a ' s names t o t h e i r f o r e -b e a r e r s c o n c e r n s t h e games o f Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? i n t h a t i t r e l a t e s t o t h e c h a r a c t e r s ' r o l e - p l a y i n g . George's c o n c e r n w i t h g i s t o r y a n d h i s p a t e r n a l a t t i t u d e t o w a r d s W e s t e r n c i v i l i z a t i o n c a n be r e g a r d e d as e x p r e s s i v e o f t h e " o l d e r man" and " p r o f e s s o r " r o l e s he sometimes p l a y s i n t h e p l a y . S i m i l a r l y , M a r t h a ' s l i n e " I am t h e E a r t h M o t h e r and y o u ' r e a l l f l o p s " (p.189) c l e a r l y e s t a b l i s h e s h e r r o l e - p l a y i n g t h a t s u p p o r t s h e r "Mother o f A m e r i c a " name. T h i s i s not t o s u g g e s t t h a t t h e p a i r a r e c o n s c i o u s l y p l a y i n g f a t h e r and mother o f A m e r i c a r o l e s . But t h e y a r e p l a y i n g f a t h e r and mother i n t h e " F a m i l y " game t h a t has an i l l u s o r y s o n who i s v e r y s i m i l a r t o t h e " a i l - A m e r i c a n " young man t h a t - has been so a d m i r e d i n A m e r i c a and who i s r e p r e s e n t e d by N i c k i n t h i s p l a y and by t h e A m e r i c a n Dream i n t h e p l a y o f t h a t name. Nick> h i m s e l f , c o n s c i o u s l y p l a y s t h i s r o l e , a d m i t t i n g w i t h f a l s e modesty t h a t he r e c e i v e d h i s M a s t e r s degree when he was n i n e t e e n and t h a t he p l a y e d q u a r t e r b a c k b u t "was much mo r e . . . a d e p t . . . a t b o x i n g . . . r e a l l y * " (p.5 2 ) . I n h i s p h y s i c a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , N i c k i s s i m i l a r t o t h e Young Man o f b o t h The Sandbox and The A m e r i c a n Dream; more i m p o r t a n t l y , h i s . c o l d l y c a l c u l a t e d o p p o r t u n i s m r e p r e s e n t s t h e same t h r e a t t o A m e r i c a as does t h e d i r e c t and r u t h l e s s p r a g m a t i s m o f t h e Young Men i n t h e e a r l i e r p l a y s . As N i c k says t o George i n A c t Two, ....what I t h o u g h t I ' d do i s . . . I ' d s o r t o f i n s i n u a t e m y s e l f g e n e r a l l y , p l a y around f o r a w h i l e , f i n d a l l t h e weak s p o t s , shore 'em up, b u t w i t h my own name on 'em...become s o r t o f a f a c t , and t h e n t u r n i n t o a...a what.,.? (p.112) - 120 -George s u p p l i e s N i c k w i t h t h e word " i n e v i t a b i l i t y ^ " . A l t h o u g h N i c k i s h e r e t a l k i n g a b o u t h i s academic c a r e e r , s u c h a c a r e e r i s i n t h e B i o l o g y Department w h i c h s t u d i e s , among o t h e r t h i n g s , t h e development o f man and i s r e s p o n s i b l e f o r changes i n t h i s d evelopment. That N i c k w i t h h i s o p p o r t u n i s m , detachment and h y p o c r i s y s h o u l d e v e n t u a l l y be i n c o n t r o l o f s u c h a Department, George c o n s i d e r s a n open t h r e a t t o c i v i l -i z a t i o n ; as he s a y s . i n A c t One, "You're t h e one I You're t h e one's g o i n g t o make a l l t h a t t r o u b l e . . . " ( p . 3 7 ) . The i r o n y h e r e i s t h a t N i c k i s t y p i c a l o f t h e A m e r i c a n Dream: g o o d - l o o k i n g , i n t e l l i g e n t , p h y s i c a l l y f i t and a m b i t i o u s , N i c k a p p e a r s t o be t h e t y p e o f young man t h a t one s h o u l d r e a d i l y welcome i n t o t h e heart and home. As t h e p l a y p o i n t s o u t , however, • N i c k ' s a p p e a r a n c e , l i k e G e o r g e ' s , i s q u i t e d i f f e r e n t f r o m h i s r e a l i t y . The a u d i e n c e , i n coming t o u n d e r s t a n d t h i s , i s f o r c e d t o r e a l i z e t h a t " t h a t ' s n o t our own l i t t l e S o n n y - J i m . Our own l i t t l e a l l - A m e r i c a n s o m e t h i n g -o r - o t h e r " ( p . 1 9 6 ) , t o use George's words. N i c k ' s appearance i s as i l l u s o r y a s George and M a r t h a ' s son; moreover,a b e l i e f i n s u c h a n appearance i s j u s t a s d a n g e r o u s . O n l y when s u c h i l l u s i o n s a r e u n d e r s t o o d c a n t h e y be b e n e f i c i a l t o l i f e on e i t h e r t h e i n d i v i d u a l o r n a t i o n a l l e v e l . . - 121 -POSTSCRIPT The o n l y p l a y n o t i n c l u d e d f o r d i s c u s s i o n i n t h i s t h e s i s w i t h t h e e x c e p t i o n o f A l b e e ' s a d a p t a t i o n s f r o m o t h e r s o u r c e s , and works subsequent t o A D e l i c a t e B a l a n c e , i s T i n y A l i c e , w r i t t e n a f t e r Who's  A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? i n 1965. A l t h o u g h A l b e e i s s t i l l c o n c e r n e d w i t h t h e i n d i v i d u a l ' s u s e and c o n t r o l o f games and i l l u s i o n s i n T i n y  A l i c e , h i s e x a m i n a t i o n o f t h e s u b j e c t f o c u s e s on man's r e l i g i o u s e x p e r i e n c e and t h e i n f l u e n c e and c o n t r o l o f r e l i g i o u s b e l i e f . As such,, t h e p l a y moves o u t s i d e t h e b o u n d a r i e s o f t h e f a m i l y u n i t w h i c h i s t h e d r a m a t i c c e n t r e o f A l b e e ' s o t h e r p l a y s . Because t h i s t h e s i s c o n c e n t r a t e s on t h e f a m i l y u n i t as A l b e e ' s metaphor f o r A m e r i c a n s o c i e t y , T i n y A l i c e has been e x c l u d e d f r o m d i s c u s s i o n . "CHAPTER FOUR . "DELICATE GAMES •"Objects w h i c h i n t h e m s e l v e s we v i e w w i t h p a i n we d e l i g h t t o c o n t e m p l a t e when r e p r o d u c e d ' w i t h m i n u t e f i d e l i t y . " — A r i s t o t l e A' D e l i c a t e B a l a n c e (1966) i s Edward A l b e e ' s most r e c e n t f u l l -l e n g t h p l a y w i t h t h e e x c e p t i o n o f h i s a d a p t a t i o n o f G i l e s C o o p e r 1 s p l a y E v e r y t h i n g i n t h e Garden. I t i s a l s o h i s most N a t u r a l i s t i c p l a y : t h e i l l u s i o n o f r e a l i t y t h a t t h e s e t and a c t o r s e s t a b l i s h on t h e s t a g e i s seldom undermined — " i n t e r r u p t i v e " d e v i c e s a r e seldom u s e d . The f u s i o n o f t h e a t r i c a l c o n v e n t i o n s i n t h e p l a y i s l e s s o b v i o u s t h a n i n A l b e e * s e a r l i e r p l a y s , c o r r e s p o n d i n g t o a l e s s p r o n ounced emphasis on games. The f o c u s o f t h e p l a y i s s t i l l upon t h e A m e r i c a n f a m i l y u n i t w h i c h , a g a i n , i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f a segment o f A m e r i c a n s o c i e t y I n g e n e r a l . The m i d d l e - c l a s s l i v i n g - r o o m o f Mommy and Daddy i n The A m e r i c a n Dream has changed i n t o t h e u p p e r - m i d d l e - c l a s s o n e ' o f T o b i a s and Agnesj George and M a r t h a 1 s u n i v e r s i t y m i l i e u has a l t e r e d t o s u b u r b i a . The f a m i l y has, grown t o i n c l u d e , a d a u g h t e r , J u l i a , and a s i s t e r - i n - l a w , C l a i r e : t h e " f a m i l y c i r c l e " h as wid e n e d t o i n c l u d e f r i e n d s > H a r r y and Edna. S t i l l , however, A l b e e 1 s theme and p u r p o s e i n t h e p l a y i s t h e l i b e r a t i o n o f t h e s e l f f r o m i t s . c o n t r o l l i n g i l l u s i o n s . W i t h t h e e n l a r g i n g o f t h e f a m i l y u n i t , t h e f o c u s o f t h e s e i l l u s i o n s b r o a d e n s t o c o n s i d e r t h e n a t u r e o f f a m i l y and f r i e n d s h i p a s w e l l a s t h e r i g h t s o f - 122 --123 -i n d i v i d u a l s i n r e l a t i o n t o o t h e r s . A new c o n c e r n w i t h " t e r r i t o r y , " b o t h p s y c h o l o g i c a l and p h y s i c a l , has become p r e d o m i n a n t . W i t h t h i s i s l i n k e d an e x a m i n a t i o n o f f i l i a l l o v e and a q u e s t i o n i n g o f i t s use as an escape 1 f r o m t h e " n o t h i n g " w h i c h A l b e e r e g a r d s as a b a s i c r e a l i t y o f l i f e . The l o v e , " c o m f o r t " and " s u c c o r " (p.99) o f t h e f a m i l y and home a r e t h e means by w h i c h T o b i a s , J u l i a , H a r r y and Edna a t t e m p t t o escape t h i s r e a l i t y . That f i l i a l a t t a c h m e n t s and f r i e n d s h i p s a r e i l l u s i o n s w h i c h the c h a r a c t e r s do n o t u n d e r s t a n d , a n d , t h e r e f o r e , m i s u s e , i s a major theme o f the p l a y . N e c e s s a r y t o a p r e s e r v a t i o n o f b o t h t h e s e l f and t h e f a m i l y (and s o o i e t y a s a w h o l e ) i s a n awareness o f the r e a l i t y w h i c h n e c e s s i t a t e s s o c i a l s t r u c t u r e s and p a t t e r n s . A l t h o u g h s u c h an awareness may be p a i n f u l , i t p r o v i d e s the b a s i s f o r more h o n e s t and w o r k a b l e r e l a t i o n s h i p s . The use o f games i n A D e l i c a t e B a l a n c e i s n o t as, n o t i c e a b l e as i t i s i n Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? The word "game" i s s e l d o m u s e d . Near t h e end o f A c t T h r e e , however, T o b i a s s a y s t o Agnes, "You, who make a l l t h e d e c i s i o n s , r e a l l y r u l e t he game..." ( p . l 4 l ) . She r e p l i e s , " T hat i s an i l l u s i o n y o u h a v e . " T h i s r e p l y , l i n k i n g game t o i l l u s i o n , d e f i n e s t h e manner i n w h i c h t h e major games o f A D e l i c a t e B a l a n c e a r e p l a y e d . U n l i k e t h e games o f Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? w h i c h a r e u s u a l l y p l a y e d between two o r more p e o p l e w i t h t h e purpose and e f f e c t o f e i t h e r u n i t i n g o r s e p a r a t i n g 1 E d w a r d A l b e e , A D e l i c a t e B a l a n c e (New Y o r k : P o c k e t B o o k s , 1967)» P«55' A l l s u b s e q u e n t r e f e r e n c e s a r e t o t h e same e d i t i o n . - 124 -a f f e c t i o n s , t h e games o f A D e l i c a t e B a l a n c e a r e p l a y e d a u s o l i t a i r e , a c h a r a c t e r p l a y i n g a game w i t h h i m s e l f , so t o speak, i n w h i c h a n i l l u s i o n o r p r e t e n s e i s a c c e p t e d w i t h o u t t e s t . I n Who 1s A f r a i d o f  V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? M a r t h a ' s p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n t h e " F a m i l y " game i s , a t t i m e s , s o l i t a r y , t h e i l l u s i o n o f h e r s o n b e i n g a game she u s e s t o escape h e r l o n e l i n e s s and f r u s t r a t i o n . A l w a y s , however, t h i s game i s u s e d as a c r u t c h f o r her m a r r i a g e w i t h George and, u n t i l i t becomes a "clu b y ' j i s a game w h i c h u n i t e s t h e two p e o p l e . I n A D e l i c a t e B a l a n c e , however, games a r e r a r e l y p l a y e d t o u n i t e t h e c h a r a c t e r s , n o r a r e t h e y p l a y e d t o s e p a r a t e them o r communicate t h r o u g h p a i n . R a t h e r , t h e y a r e p l a y e d t o p l a c a t e i n d i v i d u a l f e a r s and t o soothe p r i v a t e a n x i e t i e s ; a s s u c h , t h e games a r e n e a r l y a l l d e f e n s i v e , t h e i l l u s i o n s t h e y d e v e l o p w o r k i n g l i k e L i n u s ' " s e c u r i t y b l a n k e t " t o p r o t e c t t h e i n d i v i d u a l f r o m . p a i n f u l a s p e c t s o f r e a l i t y . That t h e n a t u r e o f g a m e - p l a y i n g has changed i n A D e l i c a t e B a l a n c e becomes o b v i o u s i n t h e f i r s t scene; s u r f a c e games a r e a t a minimum. Whereas Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? b e g i n s w i t h M a r t h a ' s i m p e r s o n a t i o n o f B e t t e D a v i s and George's s a r c a s t i c d i g s , A D e l i c a t e B a l a n c e b e g i n s w i t h A g n e s ' . q u i e t musing about h e r s a n i t y and h e r s i s t e r and T o b i a s ' "knowing" (p.16) a t t e n t i o n . The f e e l i n g s o f f r u s t r a t i o n , a n t a g o n i s m and i n a d e q u a c y t h a t d e v e l o p e d and a r e 'supported by t h e games o f Who' s A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a  W o o l f ? a r e no l o n g e r p r e s e n t ; t h e c o m p a t i b i l i t y o f Agnes and T o b i a s i s q u i c k l y d e v e l o p e d as he " k i s s e s h e r f o r e h e a d " (p.15) and t o a s t s h e r w i t h - 1 2 5 -- E i s c ognac, .. A l t h o u g h u n d e r l y i n g t e n s i o n s do d e v e l o p , t h e y a r e n o t dependent upon t h e c h a r a c t e r s 1 a n i m o s i t y . t o w a r d s e a c h o t h e r , n o r upon^ " p o w e r - p l a y s " t h a t s o o t h e damaged egos. T e n s i o n , a t t h i s " p o i n t . I n v o l v e s f a m i l y i n t h e p e r s o n o f C l a i r e . Agnes' o p e n i n g l i n e "¥hat I f i n d most a s t o n i s h i n g . . . " (p.13) i s o n l y c o m p l e t e d a f t e r some m i n u t e s when she s t a t e s • " C l a i r e " j h e r c o n s i d e r a t i o n o f i n s a n i t y w h i c h h a s o c c u r r e d i n t h e i n t e r i m i s l a t e r d i r e c t l y l i n k e d t o C l a i r e when she s a y s , " t o r e v e r t s p e c i f i c a l l y f r o m C l a i r e t o . . . h e r e f f e c t , what woul d y o u dp were I t o . . . s p i l l t h e . m a r b l e s ? " (p.18) T h i s i s s i g n i f i c a n t f o r i t i m m e d i a t e l y e s t a b l i s h e s t h e c o n c e r n w i t h f a m i l y t h a t i s c e n t r a l t o t h e p l a y . I n a d d i t i o n , i t s u g g e s t s t h a t , f a m i l y , b o t h i n t h e p h y s i c a l and c o n c e p t u a l sense,, i s somehow r e l a t e d t o p o s s i b l e i n s a n i t y . M o r e o v e r , i n t h e m e n t i o n o f f a m i l y and i n s a n i t y and t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p t o one a n o t h e r , a p r e -o c c u p a t i o n w i t h b o t h i n d i v i d u a l and s o c i a l h e a l t h becomes c l e a r a t l e a s t i n t h e c a s e o f Agnes. Such a p r e o c c u p a t i o n , p a r t i c u l a r l y i n Agnes' c a s e , r e s u l t s i n a n a n a l y t i c a l and i n t e l l e c t u a l a t t i t u d e t o w a r d s r e l a t i o n s h i p s w h i c h r e s t r i c t s h e r p l a y i n g Of s u r f a c e games. A t t h e same t i m e , i t a l l o w s h e r t o r e a l i z e , t h e . n e c e s s i t y o f some i l l u s i o n s f o r i n d i v i d u a l and s o c i e t a l s t a b i l i t y . As she l a t e r s a y s , r e f e r r i n g - t o b o t h i n d i v i d u a l s a n i t y and f a m i l y u n i t y : • t. . . There i s a b a l a n c e t o be m a i n t a i n e d , a f t e r a l l , t h o u g h t h e r e s t o f y p u t e e t e r , u n c o n -c e r n e d , o r u n c a r i n g , assuming y o u ' r e on l e v e l ground...by d i v i n e r i g h t , I g a t h e r , t h o u g h t h a t i s h a r d l y s o . And i f I must be t h e f u l c r u m . . . ( p . 8 9 ) - 126 -N e c e s s a r y t o t h e b a l a n c e o r s t a b i l i t y o f b o t h t h e i n d i v i d u a l and th e f a m i l y u n i t a r e c e r t a i n i l l u s i o n s s u c h as t h e one o f Agnes as f u l c r u m . A gnes, aware o f t h i s f a c t , p e r p e t r a t e s t h e i l l u s i o n , p l a y i n g t h e r o l e o f " b a l a n c e r " j u s t as she p l a y s h e r o t h e r r o l e s o f w i f e , m o ther, l o v e r , homemaker, n u r s e , h o s t e s s , a g i t a t o r and p a c i f i e r (pp.64.-65). U n l i k e t h e o t h e r s i n h e r f a m i l y , she has no r e g a r d f o r a s s u m p t i o n s , o n l y f a c t s , a l t h o u g h she may, as i n t h e o p e n i n g s c e n e , m e d i t a t e o n p o s s i b i l i t i e s . The f a c t o f h e r e x i s t e n c e i s t h a t she r e m a i n s o n " l e v e l ' 1 g r o u n d " n o t "'by d i v i n e r i g h t " b u t by c a r e f u l u n d e r s t a n d i n g and c o n t r o l o f h e r p o s i t i o n . I n h e r e n t i n t h i s p o s i t i o n i s t h e assuming o f r o l e s and t h e p e r p e t r a t i o n o f i l l u s i o n s b u t n o t t h e p l a y i n g o f s u r f a c e games. Agnes' a v o i d a n c e o f s u r f a c e games r e s u l t s f r o m h e r r e a l i z a t i o n t h a t t h e i r r e l i e f f r o m r e a l i t y i s m e r e l y " t e m p o r a r y " (p.20). A s she s a y s , " I am c o n c e r n e d w i t h p e a c e . . . n o t mere r e l i e f " (p.20). F e e l i n g t h u s , Agnes d i f f e r s g r e a t l y f r o m C l a i r e who p l a y s s u r f a c e games w i t h z e s t b u t a v o i d s t h e l a r g e r i l l u s i o n s and r o l e - p l a y i n g t h a t Agnes u s e s t o m a i n t a i n h e r f a m i l y p o s i t i o n and s a n i t y . As Agnes says,, " t h e r e a r e t i m e s when I t h i n k i t would be s o . . . p r o p e r , i f one c o u l d t a k e a p i l l — o r even i n j e c t — j u s t . . . remove...Ah, b u t t h o s e a r e te m p o r a r y ; even a d d i c t i o n i s a r e p e a t e d t e m p o r a r y . . . And I am n o t a c o m p u l s i v e — l i k e . . . l i k e s o m e . . . l i k e our d e a r C l a i r e , s a y " (p.20). C l a i r e ' s d r i n k i n g t o w h i c h Agnes c o n t i n u a l l y r e f e r s i s represemt^r-t a t i v e o f C l a i r e ' s use o f s u r f a c e games; a l t h o u g h she may n o t be a n a l c o h o l i c , C l a i r e once was, arid she s t i l l i s v e r y dependent upon a l c o h o l . S uch a n J-2?7 -escape she a p p e a r s t o c o n t r o l , however, j u s t as she c o n t r o l s h e r o t h e r s u r f a c e games o f i m p e r s o n a t i o n , m i m i c r y and v e r b a l w i t t o w i t h s t a n d t h e r e a l i t y o f h e r l i f e . T h i s r e a l i t y she has a c c e p t e d as t h e "nothing*' (p.55) f r o m w h i c h H a r r y and Edna a r e s t i l l r u n n i n g . W i t h t h i s a c c e p t a n c e h a s come a sense o f a l i e n a t i o n f r o m t h e f a m i l y group and r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n g e n e r a l as w e l l a s an o b j e c t i v i t y w h i c h o f t e n g i v e s C l a i r e ' s l i n e s t h e commentative v a l u e o f t h e Chorus i n a Greek p l a y . As Agnes s a y s : C l a i r e c o u l d t e l l us so much i f she c a r e d . t o , c o u l d y o u n o t , C l a i r e . C l a i r e who watches f r o m t h e s i d e l i n e s , h a s se e n so v e r y much, h a s seen us a l l so c l e a r l y , have y o u n o t , C l a i r e . You were n o t named f o r n o t h i n g , (p.110) A l t h o u g h Agnes may i n t e n d h e r words t o be s a r c a s t i c , she a b l y summarizes C l a i r e ' s f u n c t i o n i n t h e p l a y j u s t as she d e f i n e s h e r t r a i t s as an i n d i v i d u a l . M o r e o v er, h e r s t a t e m e n t "You were n o t named f o r n o t h i n g " h a s an i r o n i c t w i s t when t h e d o u b l e s i g n i f i c a n c e o f " n o t h i n g " i s r e a l i z e d . " C l a i r e , " f r o m t h e l a t i n word meaning i l l u s t r i o u s o r b r i g h t and h a v i n g the i m p l i c a t i o n o f c l a i r v o y a n c e and c l a r i t y , was named, i r o n i c a l l y , f o r n o t h i n g . H e r v e r y c l a r i t y o f p e r c e p t i o n a l l o w s h e r t o see t h e " n o t h i n g " t h a t u n d e r l i e s t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p s o f h e r f a m i l y and f r i e n d s and t o s a y , l i k e D i d i and Gogo i n B e c k e t t ' s W a i t i n g f o r Godot, "We're w a i t i n g , a r e n ' t we?" (p.94) " W a i t i n g . The room; t h e d o c t o r ' s o f f i c e , b e a u t i f u l u n c o n c e r n ; i n t e n s i v e s t u d y o f the - 128 -d r e a d f u l c u r t a i n s j a b s o r p t i o n i n F i e l d and S t r e a m , w a i t i n g f o r t h e B i - o p - s e e " (p.95). The b i o p s y i n A D e l i c a t e B a l a n c e i s f i n a l l y d e l i v e r e d when Agnes c l a s s i f i e s " t h e p l a g u e " (p.155) i n A c t T h r e e . T h i s p l a g u e i s , as C l a i r e c o u l d have s a i d e a r l i e r , t h e " n o t h i n g " f r o m w h i c h H a r r y and Edna a r e f l e e i n g , t h e " t e r r o r " (p.155) o f b e i n g a l o n e i n a m e a n i n g l e s s room o r s p a c e , s u d d e n l y aware t h a t l o v e , "warmth" and " s u c c o r " a r e o n l y i l l u s i o n s . C l a i r e who has come t o a c c e p t t h i s p l a g u e t h r o u g h h e r e x p e r i e n c e as a n a l c o h o l i c no l o n g e r l o o k s f o r t h e u l t i m a t e " p e a c e " (p.20) t h a t Agnes s t i l l f e e l s i s p o s s i b l e and t r i e s t o m a i n t a i n t h r o u g h h e r " b a l a n c i n g a c t " (p.91); c o n s e q u e n t l y , she no l o n g e r p l a y s t h e r o l e s ' o r i c u l t -;vaWsr<"'-th'e.j c o r r e s p o n d i n g i l l u s i o n s a s A^nes do e s . What she does do i s p l a y t h e s u r f a c e games t h a t f i l l o u t o r complete t h e l i f e - p l a y o r s c r i p t o f h e r i n d i v i d u a l i t y . D o i n g s o , she i n f u r i a t e s Agnes who c o r r e c t l y a c c u s e s h e r o f b e i n g one o f t h o s e "who want t o d i e . . . a n d t a k e y o u r whole l i v e s d o i n g i t " ( p . 3 7 ) . Agnes' and C l a i r e ' s d i f f e r i n g u s e o f games i s i m p o r t a n t b e c a u s e i t c l a r i f i e s A l b e e ' s c o n c e r n w i t h t h e s i g n i f i c a n c e games c a n have i n f a c i l i -t a t i n g t h e i n d i v i d u a l ' s c o n t r o l o f h i s l i f e and d e s t i n y . C l a i r e ' uses, games' t o escape e n n u i i n a way s i m i l a r t o t h e Nurse i n The D e a t h o f B e s s i e  S m i t h and J e r r y i n The Zoo S t o r y : h e r games a r e a l l s u r f a c e o nes, p l a y e d c o n s c i o u s l y , w i t h o u t t h e "abandonment" w h i c h c o u l d a l l o w them t o become * The t e r m i s borrowed f r o m J o h a n H u i z i n g a . See page 15-of t h i s t h e s i s . - 129 -more m e a n i n g f u l and f u l f i l l i n g f o r h e r . A l t h o u g h t h e y stem f r o m a n awareness o f " n o t h i n g " w h i c h i s s i m i l a r t o Agnes' awareness,: such games do l i t t l e t o assuage C l a i r e ' s " a c c i d i e " ^ ancl f r u s t r a t i o n w i t h l i f e . They a r e , i n t h e s a d d e s t s e n s e , " t e m p o r a r y " ( p . 2 0 ) . Agnes' u s e o f games, on th e o t h e r hand, i s much more p r o f o u n d . I g n o r i n g t h e "mere r e l i e f " (p.20) o f s u r f a c e games, she p u r s u e s a M a s t e r Game by a d o p t i n g t h e r o l e s and s t a n c e s t h a t w i l l g i v e h e r l i f e p u r p o s e and meaning. A l t h o u g h s u c h a game may s t i l l depend on i l l u s i o n s , s u c h i l l u s i o n s a r e more i n t e g r a l t o h e r l i f e - s c r i p t t h a n t h o s e w i t h w h i c h C l a i r e so f l i p p a n t l y p l a y s . The . d e l i c a t e b a l a n c e t h a t Agnes a t t e m p t s t o m a i n t a i n i n h e r f a m i l y p a r a l l e l s t h e d e l i c a t e b a l a n c e between i l l u s i o n and r e a l i t y t h a t A l b e e f e e l s e a c h p e r s o n must f i n d and m a i n t a i n f o r h i m s e l f i n l i f e . S u c h a b a l a n c e n e c e s s i t a t e s t h e compromise o r b a l a n c e between awareness o f games and abandonment t o them w h i c h w i l l u l t i m a t e l y a l l o w one t o communicate more f u l l y w i t h o t h e r s . Agnes' and C l a i r e ' s use o f games and i l l u s i o n s i n t h e i r l i v e s becomes s i g n i f i c a n t i n r e l a t i o n t o T o b i a s . B a s i c t o Agnes' M a s t e r Game i s "m a i n t e n a n c e , " as s h e - e x p l a i n s i n A c t Two: M a i n t e n a n c e . When we. keep something i n shape, we m a i n t a i n i t s " shape — whether we a r e p r o u d o f t h a t shape, o r n o t , i s a n o t h e r m a t t e r — we keep i t f r o m f a l l i n g a p a r t * (p.88) 'Robert S. De Ropp, The M a s t e r Game, (New Y o r k : D e l t a Books, 1 9 6 9 ) , p . l l . - 130 -F o r A g n e s , a l l t h a t m a t t e r s i s m a i n t e n a n c e o f o r d e r f o r o n l y o r d e r g i v e s h e r l i f e a n y p u r p o s e . To t h i s end, h e r m a j o r c o n c e r n i s h e r f a m i l y and h e r home,, t h e m a i n t e n a n c e ' o f w h i c h has become synonymous w i t h o r d e r . She says a t aie p o i n t , " I ^ s h a l l . . . k e e p t h i s f a m i l y i n shape. I s h a l l m a i n t a i n i t j h o l d i t " ( p . 8 8 ) . To do s o , Agnes n e c e s s a r i l y r e q u i r e s T o b i a s ' s u p p o r t ; he must a g r e e t o h e r demand f o r order,, and h e l p i n i t s m a i n t e n a n c e . T h i s he d o e s , a t t h e e x p e n s e , however, o f h i s own m a s c u l i n e i d e n t i t y — a f a c t w h i c h b o t h J u l i a and C l a i r e c o n s i s t e n t l y h o l d a g a i n s t him. E a r l y i n A c t One,, C l a i r e says t o b o t h Agnes and T o b i a s , " I f we a r e t o l i v e h e r e , on T o b i a s ' c h a r i t y , then-we a r e s u b j e c t t o t h e w i l l o f h i s wife™ ( p . 3 8 ) . L a t e r , i n A c t Two, J u l i a s ays t o . T o b i a s , "...you sank t o a c i p h e r , and you've s t a y e d t h e r e , I'm a f r a i d — v e r y n i c e b u t i n e f f e c t u a l , e s s e n t i a l , b u t n o t - r e a l l y - t h o u g h t - o f , gray...non-eminence..." ( p . 7 1 ) . A g n e s , however-, does n o t v i e w T o b i a s t h i s way. A l t h o u g h Tobias' . h i m s e l f f e e l s t h a t Agnes makes " a l l t h e d e c i s i o n s ^ r e a l l y r u l e ( s ) t h e game" ( p . 1 4 1 ) , she sees h i s a t t i t u d e as i l l u s o r y . As she s a y s , s p e a k i n g o f women i n g e n e r a l , " t h e r e i n s we h o l d ! I t ' s a team o f t w e n t y h o r s e s , and we s i t , t h e r e , and we w a t c h the. r o a d and check t h e l e a t h e r . . . . i f our...man i s so d i s p o s e d . But t h e r e a r e t h i n g s we do n o t do."... "We don't d e c i d e t h e r o u t e " ( p . 1 2 7 ) . The r e a l i z a t i o n t h a t he does i n d e e d d e c i d e the r o u t e i s t h e e p i p h a n y t h a t T o b i a s a c h i e v e s a t t h e end o f t h e p l a y . I n h e r e n t i n t h e r e a l i z a t i o n i s h i s a c c e p t a n c e o f h i s p l a c e i n t h e f a m i l y u n i t and a n u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e i l l u s i o n s he has u n c o n s c i o u s l y d e v e l o p e d t o r e l a t e t o b o t h f a m i l y and - 131 -f r i e n d s . The e n t r a n c e o f H a r r y and Edna w i t h t h e i r "plague" 1 f o r c e s T o b i a s t o make a d e c i s i o n r e g a r d i n g t h e f a m i l y : a r e H a r r y and Edna e n t i t l e d t o t h e warmth and s e c u r i t y o f t h e i r " b e s t f r i e n d s 1 ' " ( p . 5 6 ) home? The q u e s t i o n has i m p l i c a t i o n s w h i c h T o b i a s i s q u i c k t o g r a s p . A s he ' says t o Agnes, I t i s our f r i e n d s l What am I supposed t o do? Say: "Look, y o u c a n ' t s t a y here-, y o u two, you've g o t t r o u b l e . You're f r i e n d s , and a l l , b u t y o u come i n he r e c l e a n . " W e l l , I c a n ' t do t h a t . No, A g -n e s , f o r God's s a k e , i f . . . i f t h a t ' s a l l H a r r y and Edna mean t o u s , t h e n . . . t h e n what about us? When we t a l k t o e a c h o t h e r . . . w h a t have we meant? A n y t h i n g ? When we t o u c h , when we p r o m i s e , and s a y . . . y e s , o r p l e a s e . . . w i t h o u r s e l v e s ? . . . have we meant, y e s , b u t o n l y i f . . . i f t h e r e ' s any c o n d i t i o n , Agnes I Then i t ' s . . . a l l been empty, (p.156) S i g n i f i c a n t l y , Agnes r e p l i e s t o t h i s s p e e ch by s a y i n g s " P e r h a p s . But b l o o d b i n d s u s . B l o o d h o l d s us t o g h e t h e r when we've no more...deep a f f e c t i o n f o r o u r s e l v e s t h a n o t h e r s " (pp.156-157). The i l l u s i o n o f t h e f a m i l y ' s p h y s i o l o g i c a l u n i t y i s one t h a t Agnes m u s t . b e l i e v e i f s h e . i s t o m a i n t a i n o r d e r . T o r t h i s r e a s o n she c a n r e j e c t H a r r y and Edna n o t as f r i e n d s b u t s i m p l y as t h e a t s t o h e r f a m i l y . A s she sa y s t o T o b i a s : " . . . t h i n k a b o u t t h e rest o f u s " ( p . 1 5 7 ) . - 1 3 2 -T o b i a s , however, i s u n a b l e t o a c c e p t t h i s i l l u s i o n . R e j e c t i n g H a r r y and Edna a t t h e end o f t h e p l a y , he r e j e c t s Agnes' compromise w i t h r e a l i t y w h i c h he has a c c e p t e d f o r so l o n g , ' t h e compromise i n w h i c h Agnes u s e s o r d e r t o g i v e an i l l u s i o n o f p u r p o s e . D o i n g s o , he a s s e r t s h i m s e l f . a s l e a d e r o f t h e f a m i l y u n i t , d e c i d e s t h e " r o u t e y j and f a c e s t h e consequences o f t h i s l e a d e r s h i p . He c a n no l o n g e r be termed a c i p h e r , i n e f f e c t u a l and g r a y . A t t h e same t i m e , t h e p a t t e r n o r b a l a n c e upon w h i c h he has so l o n g r e l i e d f o r peace and s e c u r i t y i s now t h r o w n askew. E a r l i e r i n t h e a c t , C l a i r e has s t a t e d : "We have our f r i e n d s and g u e s t s f o r p a t t e r n s , d o n ' t we?" (p.150) The l i n e becomes i m p o r t a n t now a s t h e f r i e n d s and g u e s t s f o r c e t h e d e c i s i o n w h i c h exposes t h e I l l u s i o n o f f r i e n d s h i p t i e s . S i m i l a r l y , a q u e s t i o n C l a i r e has a s k e d now becomes most r e l e v a n t . F o r e -shadowing t h e p l a y ' s c o n c l u s i o n , she a s k s T o b i a s i n A c t T h r e e : "...what w o u l d happen i f t h e p a t t e r n s changed; y o u w o u l d n ' t know where y o u s t o o d , and t h e w o r l d would be f u l l o f s t r a n g e r s ; t h a t would n e v e r do" ( p . 1 5 0 ) . A t t h e c o n c l u s i o n o f A D e l i c a t e B a l a n c e t h e w o r l d i s , i n d e e d , f u l l o f s t r a n g e r s f o r T o b i a s . The i l l u s i o n o f f r i e n d s h i p t h a t has h e l p e d s u p p l y h i s l i f e w i t h p a t t e r n and meaning has been undermined. He i s l e f t open and exposed t o t h e n o t h i n g n e s s w h i c h has so t e r r i f i e d h i s f r i e n d s . I n a d d i t i o n , he i s f o r c e d t o q u e s t i o n t h e a s s u m p t i o n s he has made about f a m i l i a l t i e s : i s t h e r e any meaning i n " f a m i l y " o r i s i t as "empty" a word as " f r i e n d s h i p " ? A l t h o u g h Agnes l o o k s t o t h e new day p o s i t i v e l y , T o b i a s r e m a i n s l o s t i n t h o u g h t ; w h i l e he a s k s "Wasn't I h o n e s t ? " ( p . 1 7 4 ) , Agnes s t a t e s , "And - 133 -when t h e day comes again...comes o r d e r w i t h i t " ' ( p . 1 7 5 ) . Agnes has a c c e p t e d T o b i a s ' d e c i s i o n and w i l l m a i n t a i n t h e b a l a n c e t h a t t h e d e c i s i o n a l l o w s . S t i l l b e l i e v i n g i n "blood* 1 she w i l l c o l l e c t h e r f a m i l y a r o u n d her and " h o l d " t h e d e l i c a t e b a l a n c e o f f a m i l y u n i t y , j u s t as she holds' on t o h e r own s a n i t y . H a v i n g f a c e d a n " u n r e a l " (p.108) t i m e o f c o n f u s i o n and i n s e c u r i t y f o l l o w i n g t h e d e a t h o f h e r son, Agnes has managed t o e s t a b l i s h and m a i n t a i n a b a l a n c e between i l l u s i o n and r e a l i t y i n h e r own l i f e by c o n c e n t r a t i n g on h e r r o l e as " f u l c r u m " ( p . 8 9 ) . T o b i a s , on t h e o t h e r hand, must f a c e t h e r e a l i t y o f h i s i s o l a t i o n anew. Whether he w i l l c o n t i n u e t o a c c e p t Agnes' s o l u t i o n t o t h e p r o b l e m o f " n o t h i n g " i s d e b a t a b l e . l i k e M a r t h a i n Who 1s A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? , however, he w i l l probably a g a i n c r e a t e i l l u s i o n s t o manage h i s l i f e , b u t he w i l l now do so more c o n s c i o u s l y and c o n s t r u c t i v e l y . . He has s a i d i n t h e p l a y " T r u t h w i l l g e t y o u nowhere" ( p . 7 7 ) ; t h e l i n e c r y p t i c a l l y a c knowledges t h e need f o r i l l u s i o n s once one's r e a l i t y i s u n d e r s t o o d , a f a c t T o b i a s g r a s p s o n l y t o o w e l l a t t h e end o f m e p l a y . The r e j e c t i o n o f H a r r y and Edna and t h e u n d e r m i n i n g o f t h e f r i e n d s h i p i l l u s i o n g a i n s added s i g n i f i c a n c e i n r e l a t i o n t o J u l i a and r e l a t e s t h e s u b j e c t o f f r i e n d s h i p t o f a m i l y . A l t h o u g h Agnes i s a b l e t o b e l i e v e i n b l o o d t i e s a t t h e end o f t h e p l a y , T o b i a s i s n o t ; y e t , i r o n i c a l l y , T o b i a s a p p e a r s c l o s e r t o J u l i a t h a n does Agnes a l l t h r o u g h t h e p l a y . l i k e H a r r y and E d n a , J u l i a has a l s o come t o T o b i a s and Agnes f o r " s u c c o r , " " c o m f o r t " - 134 -and "warmth 1 1 (p.95) f o l l o w i n g t h e breakdown o f h e r f o u r t h m a r r i a g e ; as C l a i r e a p t l y p u t s i t , she's " l a y i n g c l a i m t o t h e c a v e " ( p . 1 0 0 ) . Agnes, however, does n o t welcome h e r warmly; h a v i n g n u r s e d J u l i a t h r o u g h t h r e e d i v o r c e s s i m i l a r t o t h e one she i s now p r o b a b l y e n t e r i n g , she t r e a t s J u l i a w i t h a c o o l l a c k o f c o n c e r n . When T o b i a s says t o Agnes, w i t h "a k i n d o f wondrous bewilderment;-'! "Don't y o u t h i n k y o u s h o u l d go t o . t e n d t o h e r ? " Agnes r e p l i e s , "Wo. She w i l l be down o r she w i l l n o t . She w i l l s t o p , o r she w i l l . . . g o o n " ( p . l l 6 ) . Agnes' a t t i t u d e t o J u l i a i s c o n s i s t e n t w i t h h e r a t t i t u d e t o C l a i r e : i n d e e d , t h e speech j u s t q uoted i s a l m o s t i d e n t i c a l t o h e r l i n e a b o u t C l a i r e n e a r t h e b e g i n n i n g o f t h e p l a y — "No. E i t h e r she w i l l be down, o r n o t " ( p . 1 9 ) . B o t h a r e i n k e e p i n g w i t h t h e ep i g r a m w h i c h Agnes c a l l s "our m o t t o " — "We do what we c a n " ( p . 1 9 ) . The mot t o r e f l e c t s Agnes' p e r s o n a l i t y w h i c h she h e r s e l f p e r c e p -t i v e l y d e s c r i b e s : " . . . I c a n ' t even r a i s e my v o i c e e x c e p t i n t h e most c a l a m i t o u s o f e v e n t s , and I f i n d t h a t b o t h j o y and sor r o w work t h e i r . . . wonders on me m o r e . . . e v e n l y , s l o w l y , w i t h i n , t h a n most..." ( p . 1 9 ) . F o r Agnes, J u l i a has c e a s e d t o be " c a l a m i t o u s " ; even h e r h y s t e r i a i n A c t Two Agnes f i n d s o n l y m i l d l y c o n c e r n i n g . A l b e e ' s s t a g e d i r e c t i o n s a t t h i s p o i n t a p t l y summarize Agnes' r e a c t i o n — " k i n d l y , b u t a l i t t l e p a t r o n ! z i n g f ( p . 1 0 6 ) , " p a t i e n t " ( p . 1 0 6 ) , "Calm" ( p . 1 0 7 ) , " s e e m i n g l y d i s p a s s i o n a t e " ( p . 1 0 8 ) . T o b i a s , o n t h e o t h e r hand, d e m o n s t r a t e s a much more p a s s i o n a t e , deeper c o n c e r n f o r h i s d a u g h t e r ' s s a n i t y . S h o r t l y a f t e r J u l i a ' s scene w i t h Edna o v e r t h e s i d e b o a r d , he a n g r i l y q u e s t i o n s t h e o t h e r c h a r a c t e r s a b o u t t h e r e a s o n s f o r J u l i a ' s b e h a j z i o r u p s t a i r s . When Agnes i g n o r e s h i s ^135 -(concern and J u l i a ' s b e h a v i o r , he s a y s , " s p u t t e r i n g , " " W e l l , f o r God's s a k e , A g n e s . . . J " ( p . l l 6 ) . F o l l o w i n g t h i s he f a l l s "deep i n t h o u g h t " (p.118) and becomes " c o n f u s e d as t o where he i s " ( p . 1 1 8 ) . Agnes' d e t a c h e d a c c e p t a n c e o f J u l i a ' s b e h a v i o r q u e s t i o n s t h e a s s u m p t i o n s he h a s h e l d a b o u t f a m i l y j u s t as H a r r y and Edna's p r e s e n c e t e s t s h i s a s s u m p t i o n s a b o u t f r i e n d s h i p . I n b o t h c a s e s , C l a i r e s u p p l i e s T o b i a s w i t h t h e c l e a r e s t a n a l y s i s o f t h e s i t u a t i o n , s a y i n g t h a t J u l i a i s "a v i s i t o r a s much a s anyone now" (p.99) and t h a t H a r r y and Edna have been j u s t p a s s i n g t h r o u g h " a l l t h e s e y e a r s " (p.96). U n t i l t h e c o n c l u s i o n o f t h e p l a y , however, T o b i a s i s u n a b l e t o a c c e p t t h e s e f a c t s . The i d e a o f f a m i l y u n i t y and c o m m u n i c a t i o n , l i k e f r i e n d s h i p , i s an i l l u s i o n he has a c c e p t e d as a " r e a l i t y " : i t t h e r e f o r e has been a b l e t o g a i n c o n t r o l o v e r h i m t o t h e degr e e t h a t he i s v u l n e r a b l e t o i t . M o r e o v e r , because he h a s c e a s e d t o u n d e r s t a n d t h e r e a l s i t u a t i o n o f h i s f a m i l y — t h e i s o l a t i o n and d e s p a i r w h i c h n e c e s s i t a t e s t h e i l l u s i o n s t h e y have d e v e l o p e d - he h a s l o s t c o n t r o l o f t h e f a m i l y and has become a c i p h e r f o r Agnes. O n l y b y e x o r c i s i n g h i s i l l u s i o n s and a c c e p t i n g t h e r e a l i t y o f h i s s i t u a t i o n c a n he r e g a i n t h e c o n t r o l he needs f o r s a n i t y and s e l f - r e s p e c t . A l t h o u g h a l l t h e c h a r a c t e r s i n A D e l i c a t e B a l a n c e c o n s c i o u s l y o r u n c o n s c i o u s l y employ i l l u s i o n s i n t h e i r l i v e s , t h e y do n o t p l a y s u r f a c e games t o t h e same e x t e n t as t h e c h a r a c t e r s i n t h e o t h e r A l b e e p l a y s d i s c u s s e d i n t h i s work. The e x c e p t i o n i s , o f c o u r s e , C l a i r e : f r o m e a r l y i n t h e p l a y she p l a y s t h o s e games o f m i m i c r y , i m p e r s o n a t i o n and v e r b a l w i t w h i c h a r e - 136 -f o u n d i n a l l t h e p r e c e d i n g A l b e e p l a y s . D o i n g s o , she s u p p l i e s t h e p l a y w i t h much o f i t s humour. S i g n i f i c a n t l y , C l a i r e o n l y b e g i n s h e r games once Agnes e x i t s i n A c t One. Knowing Agnes' i m p a t i e n c e w i t h h e r , C l a i r e , more o f t e n t h a n n o t , engages T o b i a s i n h e r games when t h e y a r e a l o n e . F o r t h e t w o o f them, games become a w o r t h w h i l e f o r m o f c o m m u n i c a t i o n , c o n s t r u c t i v e l y b i n d i n g them t o g e t h e r * When Agnes and C l a i r e p l a y games, however, t h e r e s u l t i s q u i t e d i f f e r e n t f o r t h e games a r e u s e d as weapons r a t h e r t h a n a i d s . C l a i r e r e l i e s h e a v i l y upon i m i t a t i o n i n h e r games. T h i s becomes e v i d e n t e a r l y , i n t h e p l a y when she f a n t a s i z e s about T o b i a s d e f e n d i n g h i m s e l f f o r m u r d e r i n g h i s f a m i l y . A t t h i s p o i n t she " w r i n k l e s h e r n o s e " and i m i t a t e s T o b i a s ' speech: "There I was, y o u r h o n o r , one moment i n my c h a i r , s i p p i n g a t my a n i s e t t e . . . a n d t h e n e x t t h i n g I knew...they were a l l l y i n g a b o u t , d i f f e r e n t rooms, heads blown o f f , t h e gun s t i l l i n hand..." (p.26). L a t e r i n t h e same s c e n e , she i m i t a t e s a l i t t l e g i r l a s she t e l l s T o b i a s t h e s t o r y about h e r c o n f e s s i o n a t a n A l c o h o l i c s Anonymous m e e t i n g (p.34); w i t h i n t h e same s t o r y she a l s o i m i t a t e s a n o t h e r a l c o h o l i c . What i s i m p o r t a n t h e r e i s t h a t C l a i r e ' s i m i t a t i o n s u s u a l l y o c c u r w i t h i n s t o r i e s ; a s i n The  Zoo S t o r y and Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? , s t o r i e s become an i n t e g r a l p a r t o f t h e p l a y ' s s t r u c t u r e and d e m o n s t r a t e t h e c r e a i t i v e u s e t h a t i l l u s i o n s c a n h ave. I n C l a i r e ' s c a s e t h e y a l l o w h e r t o communicate; i n a d d i t i o n t h e y s a t i s f y T o b i a s ' and J u l i a ' s d e s i r e f o r v i c a r i o u s e x p e r i e n c e w h i c h i s s i m i l a r - 137 -t o t h a t o f P e t e r ' s i n The Zoo S t o r y and N i c k ' s and Honey's i n Who's  A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? T h i s becomes most e v i d e n t when J u l i a and C l a i r e meet i n A c t Two, Scene One. Here C l a i r e r e l a t e s an e l a b o r a t e t h o u g h i r r e l e v a n t , s t o r y a b out b u y i n g a b a t h i n g , s u i t , managing t o ( i m i t a t e a s a l e s l a d y and a s t o r e manager i n t h e p r o c e s s , (pp.75-77). I n e s s e n c e , t h e s t o r y i s : an o l d v a u d e v i l l e "gag" t h a t i s hackneyed t o s a y t h e l e a s t ; . i n t h i s i n s t a n c e , however, i t a l l o w s C l a i r e t o welcome J u l i a b y e n t e r -t a i n i n g h e r , t o e s t a b l i s h a r a p p o r t t h r o u g h nonsense s i m i l a r t o f r i v o l o u s g o s s i p . When T o b i a s , who h a s been " m i l d l y amused t h r o u g h o u t " (p.77), a s k s "what were y o u d o i n g b u y i n g a b a t h i n g s u i t i n O c t o b e r , 'anyway''!'j J u l i a . , s a y s "Oh, Dad!" Her e x a s p e r a t i o n d e m o n s t r a t e s t h e f a c t t h a t t h e c o n t e n t o f C l a i r e ' s s t o r y I s n o t as i m p o r t a n t a s i t s f o r m . The s t o r y i s r e a l l y j u s t a game t h a t a l l o w s t h e two women t o g r e e t one a n o t h e r a f t e r a s e p a r a t i o n . S i m i l a r l y , C l a i r e o f t e n d e l i v e r s l i n e s t h a t sound l i k e e x c e r p t f r o m a n a r r a t i v e i n w h i c h /she i s t h e c e n t r a l c h a r a c t e r : f o r examplej i n t h e same scene she says,."'They l a u g h e d when I s a t down t o t h e a c c o r d i a n (p.92). E a r l i e r , i n A c t Two, Scene One, she dons a " f e x a s a c c e n t , o r  n e a r i t " ; , (p.80) a f t e r c a l l i n g h e r s e l f an " o b j e c t i v e o b s e r v e r . " The f a c t i s , C l a i r e u s u a l l y i s on t h e ^ s i d e l i n e s " (p.95), a l i e n a t e d . f r o m t h e f a m i l y group b y h e r sense o f t h e a b s u r d i t y o f l i f e . . " W a i t i n g f o r t h e B i - o p - s e e " (p.95},. she c a n o f t e n communicate o n l y b y p l a y i n g t h e game w h i c h t h e o t h e r c h a r a c t e r s , i n t h e main, i g n o r e . Doing s d , she i s b o t h e n t e r t a i n i n g and - 138 -i n f u r i a t i n g t o t h e o t h e r c h a r a c t e r s . A t t h e same time' she i s h e l p f u l t o t h e a u d i e n c e , h e r i r o n i c p e r s p e c t i v e p r o v i d i n g many o f her comments w i t h a n i n s i g h t i n t o t h e c h a r a c t e r s ' m o t i v a t i o n . . A l t h o u g h s u r f a c e g a m e - p l a y i n g i s n o t as p r e v a l e n t i n A D e l i c a t e B a l a n c e as i t i s i n A l b e e ' s o t h e r p l a y s , t h e r e i s one game t h a t a l l t h e c h a r a c t e r s p l a y t o a g r e a t e r degree t h a n do t h e c h a r a c t e r s i n h i s e a r l i e r p l a y s , w i t h t h e e x c e p t i o n o f T i n y A l i c e . T h i s game c o n c e r n s l a n g u a g e w h i c h , as i n The Zoo S t o r y , becomes o f m a j o r i m p o r t a n c e as a l l the c h a r a c t e r s t r y t o b r e a k f r o m t h e i r i s o l a t i o n i n t o c o m m u n i c a t i o n w i t h o t h e r s . C o n c e r n i n g t h i s s u b j e c t , A r t h u r Oberg w r i t e s ? The degree o f c o n s c i o u s n e s s t h a t t h e c h a r a c t e r s e x h i b i t i n f o r m u l a t i n g , f .'and f i x i n g a n a p p r o p r i a t e l a n g u a g e . . . i s i n t e n t i o n a l l y c o n c e i v e d . W h i l e comment upon m e n t a l and v e r b a l p r o c e s s e s f r o m w i t h i n a p l a y i s n e i t h e r new n o r e x c e p t i o n -a l i n t h e drama, t h e e x t e n t t o w h i c h A l b e e ' s p r o t a g o n i s t s c a l l a t t e n t i o n t o t h e use and mechanism o f lan g u a g e m e r i t s p a r t i c u l a r r e g a r d . . ..Language(£becomes])a p l a y f u l and d e a d l y game.... 4 T h i s game i s n o t i c e a b l e e a r l y i n t h e p l a y . Agnes' e r u d i t i o n becomes i m m e d i a t e l y e v i d e n t w i t h t h e e l a b o r a t e c l a u s e s t r u c t u r e o f h e r o p e n i n g l i n e s . The m i l d r i v a l r y o v e r words t h a t T o b i a s b e g i n s w i t h h i s c o r r e c t i o n A r t h u r K. Oberg, "Edward A l b e e s H i s Language and I m a g i n a t i o n , " P r a i r i e  S c h o o n e r , XL, i i (1966), ( p . l ^ l ) . - 139 -o f Agnes' " s a y i n g " ( p . l 6 ) i s c o n t i n u e d when, "Mocking a n e p i g r a m " (p.17) he s a y s , "One does n o t a p o l o g i z e t o t h o s e f o r whom one m u s t ? " The game ensues as f o l l o w s : AGNES: ( W i n k i n g s l o w l y ) : Neat TOBIAS: S u c c i n c t , b u t one o f t h e r u l e s o f a n a p h o r i s m . . . AGNES: A n E p i g r a m , I t h o u g h t . TOBIAS: ( S m a l l s m i l e ) : A n e p i g r a m i s ' u s u a l l y s a t i r i c , and y o u . . . AGNES; ...and I am g r i m l y s e r i o u s , y e s ? (p.17) B e s i d e s d e m o n s t r a t i n g t h e c h a r a c t e r s ' c o n c e r n w i t h l a n g u a g e , t h e exchange d e m o n s t r a t e s t h e i r l e x i c a l c o n t r o l : l e x i c a l c h o i c e i s v a r i e d and e d u c a t e d ; words s u c h as " a p h o r i s m , " and " e p i g r a m " a r e soon f o l l o w e d b y " p a r a n o i a , " " c a l a m i t o u s " and " s c h i z o p h r e n i a " ( p . 1 9 ) . F o r T o b i a s and Ag n e s , t h e use and c o n t r o l o f words i s r e l a t e d t o t h e i r u s e and c o n t r o l o f e a c h o t h e r : w o r d - p l a y works t o draw them t o g e t h e r a t t h e same t i m e as i t a l l o w s e a c h t o v i e f o r " t h e up p e r hand." V e r b a l j o u s t s s u c h as t h e one j u s t q u o t e d r a r e l y end i n h o s t i l i t y between t h e c h a r a c t e r s a s t h e y do i n Who's A f r a i d  o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? ; o n t h e c o n t r a r y , t h e y a l l o w Agnes and T o b i a s t o communicate i n a p l a y f u l way, t h e i r s e m a n t i c c o n c e r n s o f t e n a l l o w i n g them t o i g n o r e o t h e r o n e s . T h i s c a n be see n , f o r example, f o l l o w i n g T o b i a s ' s t o r y about h i s c a t . He ends- t h e s t o r y by s a y i n g w i t h " d e f i a n c e and s e l f - l o a t h i n g ,"' " I had h e r k i l l e d " ( p . 4 5 ) . Agnes, " k i n d l y c o r r e c t i n g " s a y s , - 140 -•"•'You had h e r p u t t o s l e e p . She was o l d . You had h e r p u t t o s l e e p . " . Here Agnes a t t e m p t s t o use t h e euphemism t o s t e a l T o b i a s away f r o m t h e s u b j e c t w h i c h i s b e g i n n i n g t o b o t h e r him: Agnes' use o f a euphemism w i l l h o p e f u l l y r e e s t a b l i s h t h e c a l m w h i c h e x i s t e d " e a r l i e r , a c a l m dependent upon a s k i r t i n g o f p a i n f u l memories and q u e s t i o n s s u c h as T o b i a s ' r e a s o n s f o r k i l l i n g h i s c a t . I n t h i s c o n n e c t i o n , Agnes' use o f t h e language game r e f l e c t s h e r a t t i t u d e t o w a r d s p a i n f u l s u b j e c t s i n g e n e r a l . She s a y s , f o r example, about a book " w h i c h o p i n e s t h a t t h e sexes a r e r e v e r s i n g " . . . " I t i s a' book t o be r e a d and d i s b e l i e v e d , f o r i t d i s t u r b s our sense o f w e l l -b e i n g " (p.65). A n y t h i n g t h r e a t e n i n g t o t h e m a i n t e n a n c e o f o r d e r must be c a r e f u l l y r e j e c t e d . R e g a r d i n g t h e s t o r y a b out T o b i a s ' c a t , however, t h e c o r r e c t i o n does n o t work, f o r T o b i a s i s h i m s e l f e q u a l l y " c o r r e c t i n g " (p.46). He s a y s " I had h e r k i l l e d . . . I had h e r k i l l e d . " H i s i n s i s t e n c e on t h e word s i g n i f i e s h i s r e f u s a l t o a v o i d a p a i n f u l f a c t and t o submit t o Agnes' c o n t r o l a t t h i s p o i n t . A l t h o u g h Agnes' use o f t h e game does n o t have t h e d e s i r e d e f f e c t i n t h i s i n s t a n c e , i t does d e m o n s t r a t e h e r c o n s c i o u s • a t t e m p t t o u s e words t o g a i n c o n t r o l . What i s more i m p o r t a n t , however, i s t h a t t h e l a n g u a g e gammas Agnes and T o b i a s p l a y i i / ^ d o e s n o t r e p r e s e n t o r l e a d t o o t h e r deeper and more v i o l e n t c o n f l i c t s . I t s e r v e s t o u n i t e t h e c h a r a c t e r s by p r o v i d i n g them w i t h a measure o f c o m m u n i c a t i o n . ' T h i s i s n o t t h e c a s e w i t h a l l t h e c h a r a c t e r s i n t h e p l a y , however. T o r example, T o b i a s and C l a i r e d e m o n s t r a t e u n d e r l y i n g t e n s i o n s by c o r r e c t i n g e a c h o t h e r ' s s p e e c h . R e l a t i n g t h e s t o r y about, h e r c o n f e s s i o n t o A l c o h o l i c s ' -.141 -Anonymous,. C l a i r e f i r s t says-. "'My name i s . C l a i r e , and I .am a a l c o h o l i c ' , " t h e n a s k s T o b i a s t o " t r y i t " ( p . 3 4 ) . He s a y s , "My name i s . . . M y name i s C l a i r e , and I ain.an a l c o h o l i c . " ' C l a i r e i m m e d i a t e l y c o r r e c t s him, s a y i n g "A a l c o h o l i c " ( p . 3 4 ) . What i s i m p o r t a n t t o C l a i r e a t t h i s moment i s t h a t Tobias- r e a l l y ' l i s t e n - t o h e r words, f o r t h e s t o r y she i s t e l l i n g i s d e e p l y s i g n i f i c a n t t o h e r . • H i s c a s u a l i n s e r t i o n o f a d i f f e r e n t a r t i c l e s u g g e s t s h i s . o n l y "vague" (p.34) i n t e r e s t and t h e r e f o r e b o t h e r s C l a i r e . From t h e n o n she c o n s i s t e n t l y u s e s t h e a r t i c l e " a " w i t h " a l c o h o l i c , " , s a y i n g i t a g a i n when she r e p e a t s , h e r l i n e t o T o b i a s and l a t e r when she speaks to. Agnes ( p . 3 5 ) . Her c o n s c i o u s c o n c e r n about words matches t h a t o f Agnes who o f t e n d e l i b e r a t e s h e r v o c a b u l a r y and s e n t e n c e s t r u c t u r e . F o r example, i n A c t Two, Scene One, Agnes says> " I dropped u p s t a i r s — . w e l l , t h a t d o e s n ' t make v e r y much sense> d o e s ' i t ? — 1 happened u p s t a i r s , and I knocked, a t H a r r y and:. Edna's J u l i a ''s room, door....". ( p . 8 l ) . S i m i l a r l y , C l a i r e s a y s s h o r t l y a f t e r : " I s n ' t i l k a l o v e l y word?" ( p . 9 7 ) ' I n C l a i r e ' s c a s e , however., t h e c o n c e r n w i t h words.appears t o r e s u l t - f r o m d i f f e r e n t m o t i v e s f r o m t h a t . o f Agnes'. ^ R a t h e r t h a n t r y i n g t o i g n o r e the t r u t h by s u r r o u n d i n g h e r s e l f w i t h words, : C l a i r e s e e k s a v e r b a l . p r e c i s i o n t h a t w i l l communicate t h e t r u t h . She says n e a r t h e m i d d l e o f t h e p l a y "We submerge o u r t r u t h s and have our s u n s e t s on u n t r o u b l e d w a t e r s " (p.10,0).; p u s h i n g t h e metaphor f u r t h e r , " w a t e r " becomes "words" f o r A gnes. The r e s u l t , s ays C l a i r e , i s t h a t "we b e t t e r d e v e l o p g i l l s " - 142 -(p.101) i f we a r e t o communicate and s u r v i v e . I n t h i s i n s t a n c e , C l a i r e a c t s as A l b e e ' s m o u t h p i e c e j s u g g e s t i n g t h e c o r r u p t i o n o f word—-power t h a t r e s u l t s f r o m ' t h e use o f language as e s c a p e . C.W.E. B i g s b y . makes t h i s p o i n t when he w r i t e s : . . . i n t h i s s o c i e t y , as A l b e e has s t r e s s -ed i n The A m e r i c a n Dream, e v e n t h e word " l o v e 1 * has b e c o m e . c o r r u p t e d . I t becomes an e x p r e s s i o n o f s e l f - p i t y and g r e e d o r s i m p l y a means o f d e s c r i b i n g s o c i a l r e -l a t e d n e s s . .. . '5 He goes on t o s a y t h a t " t h e r e i s c l e a r l y a savage i r o n y " i n C l a i r e ' s s p e e c h about l o v e i n A c t One i n which she shows h e r awareness o f t h e debasement o f t h e word. She s a y s : Oh, s t o p i t ! " Love" i s n o t t h e p r o b -lem. You l o v e Agnes and Agnes l o v e s J u l i a and J u l i a l o v e s me and I l o v e y o u . We a l l l o v e e a c h other 5 y e s we do. We l o v e e a c h o t h e r , (p.46) The s p e e c h s u g g e s t s t h e same i n a d e q u a c y o f words t h a t A l b e e d e m o n s t r a t e s i n The Zoo S t o r y . I f words a r e n o t c a r e f u l l y managed and c o n t r o l l e d , t h e y become as dangerous as any o t h e r unmanaged game o r i l l u s i o n : t h e y c a n become, as Oberg p o i n t s o u t , " s u b s t i t u t e s f o r . r e a l a c t s . " ^ 1 As v e r b a l and " m e n t a l s e x play"'''(he s a y s , "Language t u r n s i n t o m a s t u r b a t i o n . "8 B e r n e , -'.C.W.E. B i g s b y , "The S t r a t e g y o f Madness: A n A n a l y s i s o f Edward A l b e e ' s 'A D e l i c a t e B a l a n c e ' , " Contemporary L i t e r a t u r e , 1 2 , i ('Spring,' 1969), p.227 60berg, p.im ^Edward A l b e e , T i n y A l i c e (New Y o r k : P o c k e t Books I n c . , 1966), p.109. 80berg, p.144. - 143 -o f c o u r s e , would add", a s u b s t i t u t e , f o r " t h e r e a l l i v i n g o f r e a l i n t i m a c y . " ' A l t h o u g h t h e c h a r a c t e r s i n A D e l i c a t e B a l a n c e a r e n o t as i n v o l v e d w i t h s u r f a c e games a s the c h a r a c t e r s i n A l b e e ' s e a r l i e r p l a y s , i t must a g a i n be s t r e s s e d t h a t t h e y a r e a l l dependent upon some f o r m o f i l l u s i o n . The p s y c h o l o g i c a l and s e x u a l games exposed by t h e s u r f a c e games i n Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? a r e n o t a s e v i d e n t i n t h e l a t e r p l a y ; t h e y are> however, j u s t , as r e l e v a n t t o t h e p l a y ' s theme and p u r p o s e w h i c h i s t h e n e c e s s i t y o f i l l u s i o n - a w a r e n e s s . S u c h s e x u a l and p s y c h o l o g i c a l games a r e d e p i c t e d d i f f e r e n t l y i n t h i s p l a y f r o m t h e way t h e y a r e i n A l b e e ' s e a r l i e r p l a y s . S e x u a l r o l e - p l a y i n g t h a t d e f i n e s one c h a r a c t e r by. o p p o s i n g him o r h e r t o a n o t h e r i s n o t as i m p o r t a n t i n A D e l i c a t e B a l a n c e as s o l i t a r y r o l e -p l a y i n g : t h e most i m p o r t a n t games i n t h e p l a y a r e t h e games t h e c h a r a c t e r s p l a y w i t h t h e m s e l v e s i n o r d e r t o escape o r manage t h e f a c t s o f t h e i r l i v e s Agnes' c o n c e p t i o n o f h e r s e l f as " f u l c r u m " (p.89) i s a n i l l u s i o n she makes i n t o a r e a l i t y by p l a y i n g t h e v a r i o u s r o l e s t h a t keep o r d e r i n h e r house.. She u s e s t h e i l l u s i o n t o manage t h e r e a l i t y w h i c h T o b i a s f a c e s a t t h e end o f t h e p l a y — i . e . , - t h e m e a n i n g l e s s human c o n d i t i o n . i n w h i c h p e o p l e a r e a r b i t r a r i l y t h r o w n t o g e t h e r w i t h o u t any r e a l t i e s o f f a m i l y and f r i e n d s h i p U n t i l t h e c o n c l u s i o n o f the. p l a y , T o b i a s b e l i e v e s - l i k e H a r r y and Edna, i n t h e i l l u s i o n o f f r i e n d s h i p and l o v e . A l l t h r e e e v e n t u a l l y f a c e t h e f a c t t h a t , none has any r e a l r i g h t s as f a r as t h e c o t h e r i s c o n c e r n e d . Edna who has t r i e d t o a s s e r t h e r r i g h t s a s Agnes' b e s t f r i e n d and J u l i a ' s Godmother - 144 -s a y s n e a r t h e end o f t h e p l a y : . • I t ' s sad t o come t o t h e end o f i t , i s n ' t i t , n e a r l y t h e end; so much more o f i t ' . gone b y . . . t h a n l e f t , and s t i l l n o t know. . — s t i l l n o t have l e a r n e d . . . t h e b o u ndar- ' • i e s , what we may n o t do...not a s k , f o r f e a r o f l o o k i n g - i n a m i r r o r - . We s h o u l d -. n ' t have-come. (p.l69) By t h e end o f t h e p l a y , a l l t h e c h a r a c t e r s know more about t h e m s e l v e s • a n d , i n knowing^ become p a r a d o x i c a l l y more i s o l a t e d and c l o s e t o t h e i r f a m i l i e s and f r i e n d s . J u l i a must f a c e t h e r e a l i t y t h a t she has become a " v i s i t o r " as much as H a r r y and Edna„ She c a n no l o n g e r assume t h e r o l e o f a c h i l d t o Agnes and T o b i a s b u t must meet them as- a mature woman; s i m i l a e - -l y , she c a n n o t e x p e c t t h e f a m i l y home t o g i v e h e r t h e womb-like s e c u r i t y she s e e k s . Agnes' l i n e t o T o b i a s — . " W e l l , my d a r l i n g , y o u a r e n o t young now, and y o u do-not l i v e a t home" (p.145) -- c o u l d e a s i l y a p p l y t o J u l i a as w e l l as t o a l l t h e c h a r a c t e r s . "Where do I l i v e ? " a s k s T o b i a s ; and Agnes a n s w e r s , "The dark' s a d n e s s " (p.135). The d a r k sadness i n w h i c h e v e r y c h a r a c t e r i s s e p a r a t e d f r o m t h e o t h e r by d e f i n i t e t h o u g h i n d i s t i n c t b p u n d a r i e i s t h e f i n a l t r u t h t h e p l a y d e p i c t s . E a c h c h a r a c t e r m i r r o r s t h e o t h e r as Edna i m p l i e s . A l b e e even d e s c r i b e s Edna and H a r r y a s b e i n g " v e r y much  l i k e Agnes and T o b i a s " (p.9) and H a r r y i s r e f e r r e d t o as " b e i n g Tobias"' (p.110). " ' A l l happy f a m i l i e s a r e a l i k e ' " (p.84) says C l a i r e e a r l y i n t h e p l a y . The l i n e g a i n s s i g n i f i c a n c e w i t h t h e p l a y ' s c o n c l u s i o n . The p l a y - 145 -need n o t be r e g a r d e d a s d a r k l y a s t h e t r u t h m i g h t s u g g e s t , however. Agnes c a n l o o k f o r w a r d t o t h e new day because she ca n r e a s s e r t t h e o r d e r w h i c h she chooses t o c o n s t r u c t . F a c i n g t h e i r s i t u a t i o n s t r u t h f u l l y , t h e c h a r a c t e r s make more m e a n i n g f u l c o m m u n i c a t i o n p o s s i b l e . I l l u s i o n s s u c h as s e l f - i m p o s e d o r d e r c a n now be u s e d as v e h i c l e s t o cope w i t h . r e a l i t y r a t h e r t h a n as s u b s t i t u t e s f o r i t . T h i s i d e a p e r h a p s e x p l a i n s A l b e e ' s d e d i c a t i o n o f t h e p l a y t o J o h n S t e i n b e c k . - The J o a d f a m i l y i n The Grapes o f W r a t h comes t o t h e u n d e r s t a n d i n g t h a t "Use ' t a be t h e f a m b l y o was. f u s t . I t a i n ' t so now. I t ' s a n y b b d y . w The same u n d e r s t a n d i n g i s f i n a l l y a c h i e v e d b y t h e c h a r a c t e r s i n A D e l i c a t e B a l a n c e . The c o n c e r n w i t h t h e b o u n d a r i e s o f t h e i n d i v i d u a l ' s p s y c h o l o g i c a l and p h y s i c a l t e r r i t o r y i n A D e l i c a t e B a l a n c e i s a new one f o r A l b e e . I t i s a l o g i c a l development o f h i s c o n c e r n w i t h i n d i v i d u a l s a n i t y . I f f r i e n d s h i p and f a m i l i a l l o v e a r e o n l y i l l u s i o n s ^ t h e i n d i v i d u a l does i n d e e d have no r i g h t t o impose h i s needs on o t h e r s . I l l u s i o n s , however, a s A l b e e c o n s i s -t e n t l y p o i n t s o u t , c a n g a i n r e l a t i v e t r u t h b y f a c i l i t a t i n g c o m m u n i c a t i o n . D o i n g s o , r i g h t s become p o s s i b l e , j u s t as r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s become i n e v i t a b l e . T o b i a s s u g g e s t s t h i s c o n c l u s i o n a t t h e end o f t h e p l a y . A l m o s t h y s t e r i c a l , he s h o u t s : I DON'T WANT TOU HEBE! I DON'T LOVE I0U1 BUT B I GOD...TOU STAT! ( p . l 6 7 ) Quoted i n B i g s b y , p.230. - 146 -A l t h o u g h , t h e r i g h t s may o n l y be w i l l e d , t h e y c a n n e v e r t h e l e s s be "rea^''". What i s i m p o r t a n t i s t h a t h a v i n g c h o s e n t o b e l i e v e i n t h e i l l u s i o n , t h e i n d i v i d u a l a c c e p t t h e r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s o f i t . Such a use o f i l l u s i o n , as c y n i c a l and s o p h i s t i c a t e d as i t may be, a l l o w s t h e ' i n d i v i d u a l t o l i v e w i t h some f o r m o f i n t i m a c y . He must, however-, m a i n t a i n a n awareness o f t h e b a l a n c e between i l l u s i o n and r e a l i t y i n h i s l i f e , j u s t as he m u s t . a c h i e v e a n awareness o f t h e b o u n d a r i e s o f h i s own and o t h e r s ' p s y c h o l o g i c a l s p a c e . O n l y by d o i n g so c a n c o n f l i c t and t e n s i o n be m i n i -m i z e d and a peace w h i c h i s more t h a n t e m p o r a r y be d e v e l o p e d . The c o n c e r n w i t h t e r r i t o r y i n t h e p l a y r e c e i v e s s y m b o l i c e x p r e s s i o n i n A c t Two, Scene Two. Here J u l i a ' s d e s i r e f o r h e r own "room" i s t r a n s f e r r e d t o h e r manic p r o t e c t i o n o f t h e s i d e b o a r d . The r e l a t i o n s h i p between h e r need f o r s e c u r i t y and t h e room i n h e r p a r e n t s ' house has a l r e a d y been e s t a b l i s h e d . A c t Two, Scene one ends w i t h J u l i a s a y i n g " I want my room back! I want my room!!" (p.86) E a r l y i n ' t h e . n e x t s c e n e , C l a i r e d e s c r i b e s t h e room as "a s p e c i a l room w i t h a n i g h t l i g h t , o r t h e d o o r a j a r so y o u c a n l o o k down th e h a l l f r o m t h e bed aad see t h a t Mommy's doo r i s open" (p.99). J u l i a s a y s , "But t h a t ' s my room" (p.99) and C l a i r e a n s w e r s , " I t ' s . . . t h e room. Happens you were i n i t . " J u l i a ' s g r o w i n g f e a r t h a t she i s o n l y a " v i s i t o r " (p.99) i n h e r p a r e n t s ' house w i t h no more r i g h t s t h a n H a r r y and Edna r e a c h e s i t s c l i m a x when, i n t h e same scene j Edna c a l l s J u l i a a g u e s t and a s k s h e r t o make h e r a d r i n k (p.103). When H a r r y t h e n e n t e r s and goes to w a r d s t h e s i d e b o a r d t o make the d r i n k h i m s e l f , J u l i a " r u s h e s t o 147 -t h e s i d e b o a r d , h e r ba c k t o I t . s p r e a d s h e r arms p r o t e c t i n g i t . c u r i o u s l y  d i s t u r b e d and f r i g h t e n e d . . . " (p.104).' S u d d e n l y she becomes -"A l i t t l e g i r l t c r y i n g " ( p.l05 ) j h e r h y s t e r i a i n c r e a s e s t o t h e ' p o i n t where Agnes s a y s ;"go up to, my room, l i e down" (p,106). T h i s , o f c o u r s e , i n f u r i a t e s and f r i g h t e n s J u l i a e v en more. Becoming "A t r a p p e d woman.- surrounded"- ( p . 1 0 7 ) , she f i n a l l y screams " I WANT....WHAT I S MIKE!1" (p.108); a n d "Runs f r o m t h e  room." The i m p o r t a n t f a c t h e r e i s . t h a t t h e s i d e b o a r d h o u s i n g t h e l i q u o r becomes t h e f o c u s o f a scene c o n c e r n e d w i t h t h e r i g h t s o f t e r r i t o r y . J u l i a p r o t e c t s and g u a r d s t h e l i q u o r as she w o u l d l i k e t o g u a r d h e r own room. Agnes and H a r r y ' s c a s u a l u s e o f t h e c a b i n e t r e m i n d s J u l i a o f t h e i r c a s u a l t a k e o v e r o f h e r room. More i m p o r t a n t l y , t h e i r t a k e o v e r s u g g e s t s t o h e r t h a t t h e y have u s u r p e d h e r r i g h t s a s r e s i d e n t v i s i t o r ; she i s s u d d e n l y h o m e l e s s , h e r t e r r i t o r y i n v a d e d . I r o n i c a l l y , however, h e r p r o t e c t i o n o f the. l i q u o r s u g g e s t s t h e i l l u s o r y n a t u r e o f t h e r i g h t s t h a t she, H a r r y and Edna a l l a t t e m p t t o a s s e r t . I n e f f e c t , e v e ryone i n t h e p l a y I s s e e k i n g t h e " s u c c o r " . a n d "warmth" (p.99) o f a room a t home* t h e f a c t i s r e f l e c t e d i n t h e c h a r a c t e r s 1 - c o n s t a n t u s e o f a l c o h o l . The p l a y b e g i n s w i t h T o b i a s " l o o k i n g i n t o c o r d i a l b o t t l e s . " " l o o k i n g f o r " (p*13.) t h e a n i s e t t e . A l l t h e c h a r a c t e r s d r i n k i n t h e p l a y i n o r d e r t o e s c a p e , i n some measure t h e f a c t t h a t t h e y c a n n o t f i n d s u c c o r and warmth. A b e l i e f t h a t s u c h i s p o s s i b l e , , however, i s as much an i l l u s i o n a s t h e r e l i e f l i q u o r a f f o r d s . R i g h t s a r e i l l u s i o n u n t i l t h e y a r e a c c e p t e d . a s s u c h and t h e n c o n s c i o u s l y w i l l e d . - 148 -U u l i a ' s d e f e n d i n g t h e s i d e b o a r d " l i k e a p r i n c e s s i n t h e m o v i e s , h i d i n g h e r l o v e r i n t h e c l o s e t f r o m t h e k i n g " (p.115) i s i r o n i c a l l y a p t because t h e r i g h t s she f e e l s she h a s a r e mere f a n t a s i e s ; l i k e l i q u o r - i n d u c e d i l l u s i o n s o f s e c u r i t y and peace, t h e y c a n o n l y be t e m p o r a r y . A l b e e ' s c o n c e n t r a t i o n o f t h e i l l u s i o n s t h a t i n d i v i d u a l s use t o co n -s t r u c t t h e i r l i v e s and h i s r e d u c t i o n o f a t t e n t i o n t o t h e s u r f a c e games w h i c h t h e y use t o d e v e l o p and p r o t e c t t h e s e i l l u s i o n s n a t u r a l l y h a s i t s e f f e c t upon t h e s t r u c t u r e o f A D e l i c a t e B a l a n c e . The p l a y i s h i s most N a t u r a l -i s t i c . The r e a l i s t i c l i v i n g - r o o m s e t e s t a b l i s h e s an i l l u s i o n w h i c h i s seldom undermined b y t h e c h a r a c t e r s ' s p e e ch o r a c t i o n s . The r e l a t i v e l a c k o f s u r f a c e g a m e - p l a y i n g i n t h e p l a y p r o h i b i t s t h e sense o f i r o n y t h a t t h e games o f m i m i c r y , i m p e r s o n a t i o n and v e r b a l w i t d e v e l o p i n Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? ; t h e p l a y - w i t h i n - a - p l a y s t r u c t u r e s e l d o m makes i t s e l f o b v i o u s i n A D e l i c a t e B a l a n c e . S i m i l a r l y , t h e r e i s no r e f e r e n c e t o t h e p l a y i t s e l f ; v e r b a l acknowledgement o f t h e p l a y as game, as i n The Sandbox and The A m e r i c a n Dream, i s n o n - e x i s t e n t . There a r e , however, t e c h n i q u e s i n A D e l i c a t e B a l a n c e w h i c h have a d i s t a n c i n g e f f e c t on t h e a u d i e n c e and w h i c h i n t e r r u p t t h e n a t u r a l i s t i c f l o w o f t h e p l a y so t h a t t he a u d i e n c e can a p p r e -c i a t e i t I n t e l l e c t u a l l y as w e l l a s e m o t i o n a l l y . The c o n c l u s i o n o f t h e p l a y i s s i m i l a r t o t h e c o n c l u s i o n o f The Zoo S t o r y and Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a  W o o l f ? i n i t s f a i l u r e t o e s t a b l i s h c l e a r l y a " w i n n e r " o r " l o s e r " i n t h e p l a y . C o n f u s i o n s u r r o u n d i n g T o b i a s ' f i n a l p o s i t i o n n e c e s s i t a t e s t h e a u d i e n c e ' s e x a m i n a t i o n o f o i t s own b e l i e f s a b o u t f r i e n d s h i p and f a m i l y . The v i l l a i n o f t h e p l a y must be v i e w e d as t h e "enemy w i t h i n " — t h e i n d i v i d u a l ' s misuse o f game and i l l u s i o n so t h a t t h e y have h a r m f u l r a t h e r than- h e l p f u l e f f e c t s . The b a s i c p r o b l e m s i n t h e p l a y r e s u l t n o t f r o m an a n t a g o n i s t b u t f r o m t h e n a m e l e s s t e r r o r , t h e " p l a g u e " (p.155), t h a t H a r r y and Edna b r i n g i n t o T o b i a s ' home. The p l a g u e e v e n t u a l l y s p r e a d s t o J u l i a .and T o b i a s b e f o r e the. g u e s t s a r e r e j e c t e d and t h e p l a y c o n c l u d e s . A l b e e w o u l d p r o b a b l y hope t h a t t h e p l a g u e a l s o c o n t a m i n a t e s t h e a u d i e n c e * aware o f t h e " n o t h i n g " t h a t h a s p r o m p t e d H a r r y and Edna's f e a r , t h e audience, may q u e s t i o n i t s own a s s u m p t i o n s about f i l i a l a f f e c t i o n and r i g h t s . C l a i r e s a y s a t one p o i n t t "We are. n o t a communal, n a t i o n , d e a r ; g i v i n g , b u t n o t s h a r i n g , o u t g o i n g , b u t n o t f r i e n d l y " ( p . l O O ) . I n r e l a t i o n t o t h i s l i n e , B i g s b y s u g g e s t s t h a t t h e p l a y i s A l b e e ' s a c k n o w l e d g e m e n t . . . t h a t t h e r e i s a desperate need t o r e e s t a b l i s h human r e -l a t i o n s h i p s o n j u s t s u c h a f i r m f o u n d a t i o n o f t r u t h . F o r t o h i m i f we c o n t i n u e t o "submerge o u r t r u t h s " on " t h e g r a s s y bottom" and p r e f e r t o "have o u r s u n s e t s on u n t r o u b -l e d w a t e r s , " t h e n t h e e s s e n t i a l need f o r h u m a n i t y i s t o " d e v e l o p g i l l s " (pp. 100-101)... The u r g e n c y o f t h i s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n i s u n d e r -l i n e d b y the. w a r n i n g "that. " . E v e r y t h i n g becomes . . . t o o l a t e , f i n a l l y " f^.lA:). ^ The n e c e s s i t y f o r a n awareness o f t h e i l l u s i o n s A m e r i c a n s u s e t o submerge t r u t h s s u c h as i n d i v i d u a l i s o l a t i o n and s e l f i s h f r i e n d s h i p i s a ma j o r p u r p o s e o f t h e p l a y . The t e c h n i q u e s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h E p i c , T h e a t r e a n d T h e a t r e o f t h e A b s u r d t h a t A l b e e has u s e d i n h i s o t h e r p l a y s a r e u s e d i n 'Bigsby, p. 169. , - 150 -A D e l i c a t e . B a l a n c e f o r t h e same r e a s o n : t o make t h e a u d i e n c e . i n t e r -m i t t a n t l y aware o f t h e p l a y as a game i n o r d e r t o d e m o n s t r a t e i t s own v u l n e r a b i l i t y t o i l l u s i o n . C h i e f among t h e s e t e c h n i q u e s i s t h e use o f ' monologues and s t o r i e s j t h e t e c h n i q u e i s c o n s i s t e n t t o a l l o f A l b e e ' s p l a y s and i s f u n d a m e n t a l t o h i s m a n i p u l a t i o n o f t h e a u d i e n c e . I n A D e l i c a t e B a l a n c e . C l a i r e and T o b i a s e a c h d e l i v e r s two s t o r i e s o f s i g n i f i -c a n t l e n g t h and i n t e n s i t y . C l a i r e ' s s t o r y a b o u t h e r i n v o l v e m e n t w i t h A l c o h o l i c s Anonymous r e p r e s e n t s t h e f i r s t i n t r u s i o n o f n o n - n a t u r a l i s t i c t e c h n i q u e s i n t o t h e p l a y . The s t o r y a c t u a l l y b e g i n s when C l a i r e " l i e s  on t h e f l o o r , , b a l a n c e s g l a s s on h e r f o r e h e a d , p u t s i t b e s i d e h e r , e t c . " ( p . 2 7 ) . Her p o s i t i o n a t t h i s moment i s v e r y important': i t s u n n a t u r a l n e s s a c c e n t u a t e s the u n n a t u r a l n e s s o f h e r s t o r y . T o b i a s c i r c l e s h e r body and s t a n d s o v e r h e r j a t one p o i n t she " r a i s e s h e r two arms, one w i t h t h e  c i g a r e t t & , t h e o t h e r t h e b r a n d y g l a s s " ( p . 3 1 ) . Her " i n v i t a t i o n " t o T o b i a s t o j o i n h e r on t h e f l o o r matches her i n v i t a t i o n f o r him- t o l i s t e n t o . h e r s t o r y . Her speeches i n c r e a s e i n l e n g t h and e m o t i o n a l I n t e n s i t y as she becomes more i n v o l v e d w i t h h e r s t o r y . She s a y s , "You h a t e w i t h t h e same g r e e n s t i n k i n g s i c k n e s s , y o u f e e l y o u r bowels have t u r n e d i n t o . . . y o u r s e l f , and e v e r y b o d y . . . . and y o u n o t i c e — w i t h a s o r t o f detachment t h a t amuses y o u , y o u t h i n k — t h a t you're'more l i k e an a n i m a l everyday..I'(p.32). The sense o f C l a i r e ' s l i n e s i s e x t e n d e d by h e r p o s i t i o n l i k e a n a n i m a l on t h e f l o o r . "...You s n a r l , and g r a b f o r t h i n g s . . . " she s a y s , e x t e n d i n g h e r words i n t o g e s t u r e . As she becomes more and more i n v o l v e d w i t h h e r s t o r y , however, T o b i a s "moves - 151 -a l i t t l e away" (p.3l), becomes " w i s t f u l , t r i s t e " (p.33), " r a t h e r vague" (p.34). By t h e t i m e she r i s e s t o "re-enact"(p.34) h e r c o n f e s s i o n , T o b i a s i s w a t c h i n g C l a i r e i n t e n t l y b u t does n o t a p p e a r t o b e i n v o l v e d , w i t h what she i s s a y i n g . He has a c h i e v e d t h e detachment she t a l k s about," p r o b a b l y because che i s "em b a r r a s s e d " (p.35) a ^ i n e p e r s o n a l n a t u r e -of h e r s t o r y . The a u d i e n c e a l s o becomes d e t a c h e d f r o m C l a i r e ' s s t o r y ; when she f i n a l l y r i s e s f r o m h e r p r o s t r a t e p o s i t i o n , she does so t o " r e - e n a c t " a scene w h i c h r e q u i r e s h e r to. m imic a . l i t t l e g i r l as w e l l as h e r s e l f and a f e l l o w a l c o h o l i c . The s t o r y , , a l t h o u g h n o t as i n v o l v e d as M a r t h a ' s and George's monologues I n Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a ¥ 0 0 I f ? o r J e r r y ' s l e n g t h y s t o r y about h i s l a n d -l a d y ' s dog i n The Zoo S t o r y , has a s i m i l a r e f f e c t : i t f o r c e s t h e a u d i e n c e ; t o become aware o f t h e a c t r e s s p l a y i n g C l a i r e , b o t h by h e r b i z a r r e p o s i t i o n -i n g and n a r r a t i v e and b y t h e i r o n i c l a y e r i n g o f i m p e r s o n a t i o n upon i m p e r -s o n a t i o n . . The' e f f e c t i s i m p o r t a n t because i t a l l o w s t h e a u d i e n c e t o a p p r e c -i a t e t h e speech more o b j e c t i v e l y . T o b i a s ' s t o r y about h i s c a t (pp.43-46) has a s i m i l a r e f f e c t , t h o u g h n o t as s t r o n g a one as C l a i r e ' s A l c o h o l i c s t o r y o r . h e r s t o r y a b o u t . t h e b a t h i n g s u i t (pp.75-77). The l a t t e r s t o r y , i n v o l v i n g so. much m i m i c r y and. I m p e r s o n a t i o n , p r o v i d e s an. a c t r e s s e x c e l l e n t o p p o r t u n i t y f o r a v i r t u o s o p e r f o r m a n c e . What i s i m p o r t a n t , however, i s t h a t t h e s t o r y works b e s t as .a p e r f o r m a n c e : i t i s w r i t t e n t o a l l o w t h e ' a c t r e s s , t o " d e m o n s t r a t e " h e r l i n e s i n t h e t r a d i t i o n o f E p i c T h e a t r e . C l a i r e t a l k s about h e r s e l f , d e l i v e r i n g - 152 -l i n e s l i k e H e l l o , t h e r e , I'm i n t h e market f o r a t o p l e s s s w i m s u i t ! " ( p . 7 5 ) . B e r t h o l t Brecht,- d i s c u s s i n g t h e a c t o r 1 s t e c h n i q u e s i n E p i c T h e a t r e , makes a n a n a l o g y between a p e r s o n r e l a t i n g t h e f a c t s o f a c a r a c c i d e n t on a s t r e e t c o r n e r t o a n a c t o r - r e l a t i n g h i s c h a r a c t e r i n a t h e a t r e . H i s d i s c u s s i o n ' i s i n t e r e s t i n g i n . r e l a t i o n t o C l a i r e ' s s t o r y o f h e r e n c o u n t e r w i t h t h e s a l e s l a d y . B r e c h t w r i t e s : The s t r e e t d e m o n s t r a t o r ' s p e r f o r m a n c e i s e s s e n t i a l l y r e p e t i t i v e . The ev e n t has t a k e n p l a c e : what y o u a r e now s e e i n g i s a r e p e a t . I f t h e s c e n e i n t h e t h e a t r e f o l l o w s t h e s t r e e t scene i n t h i s r e s p e c t t h e n t h e t h e a t r e w i l l s t o p p r e t e n d i n g n o t t o be a t h e a t r e , , j u s t as t h e s t r e e t -c o r n e r d e m o n s t r a t i o n a d m i t s i t i s a demon-s t r a t i o n (and does n o t p r e t e n d t o be t h e a c t u a l e v e n t ) . H . The e f f e c t o f C l a i r e ' s s t o r y i s t h a t t h e t h e a t r e s i t u a t i o n i s i m p r e s s e d upon t h e a u d i e n c e , a s i t u a t i o n w h i c h i s b a s i c a l l y i r o n i c . The a u d i e n c e i s f o r c e d t o a p p r e c i a t e t h e f a c t t h a t i t i s i n v o l v i n g i t s e l f , w i t h a n i l l u s i o n w h i c h i s an i m i t a t i o n o f r e a l i t y s i m i l a r t o t h e games w h i c h p e o p l e use as r e a l i t y - s u b s t i t u t e s e v e r y day. T o b i a s ' l o n g s p e e c h a t t h e end o f t h e p l a y a l s o has t h i s e f f e c t . A l b e e i s d e l i b e r a t e l y e x p l i c i t i n h i s d i r e c t i o n s t o t h e a c t o r r e g a r d i n g t h i s s p e e c h . . He w r i t e s : • B e r t h o l t B r e c h t , "'The S t r e e t Scene,"' i n The Theory o f t h e Modern S t a g e j ed. E r i c B e n t l e y (Harmondsworth: P e n g u i n Books, 1968), pp.86-87). . - 153 -T h i s n e x t i s ari a r i a . I t . must have i n •' ' " 1 '• — ^ I • I I • • II M-I.-I . 1 III... Ml . i t s ' p e r f o r m a n c e ' a l l t h e h o r r o r and e x - ube r a n c e o f a man who has k e p t h i s emo- t i o n s u n d e r c o n t r o l t o o l o n g . ' TOBIAS  w i l l be c a r r i e d t o • t h e edge o f h y s t e r i a ,  and he w i l l f i n d h i m s e l f l a u g h i n g , some- t i m e s , w h i l e he c r i e s f r o m sheer r e l e a s e .  A l l i n a l l , i t i s genuine-and b r a v u r a a t  the' same t i m e , one p r o l o n g i n g t h e o t h e r . (p.164) "Genuine and b r a v u r a " ; t h e words d e f i n e b o t h T o b i a s ' c h a r a c t e r i n t h i s i n s t a n c e and t h e a c t o r ' s p e r f o r m a n c e as w e l l . To a p p r e c i a t e T o b i a s ' p redicament' most f u l l y , t h e a u d i e n c e must u n d e r s t a n d why he must f e e l b o t h g e n u i n e and b r a v u r a ; t o comprehend t h i s f u l l y , t h e a u d i e n c e must be b o t h s i m u l t a n e o u s l y i n v o l v e d w i t h and " o b j e c t i v e about t h e e x p e r i e n c e i t i s h a v i n g . " ! 2 The a c t o r ' s p e r f o r m a n c e must a l l o w t h i s s i m u l t a n e o u s r e a c t i o n j u s t as t h e p l a y must a l l o w s u c h a p e r f o r m a n c e t o be p o s s i b l e . The f a c t t h a t A l b e e s h o u l d c a l l T o b i a s ' s p e e ch an " a r i a " i s a l s o s i g n i f i c a n t . In--Opera, t h e a r i a r e p r e s e n t s " l y r i c e p i s o d e s t h a t • t e m p o r a r i l y r e l i e v e the d r a m a t i c t e n s i o n o f t h e a c t i o n , " l - ^ A t t h i s p o i n t i n the p l a y , d r a m a t i c t e n s i o n must be " r e l i e v e d " a t t h e same t i m e t h a t i t i s h e i g h t e n e d i f t h e a u d i e n c e ' s s i m u l t a n e o u s r e a c t i o n i s t o be a c h i e v e d . An " e l a b o r a t e compo-s i t i o n f o r s o l o v o i c e " w h i c h i s " o f g r e a t e r l e n g t h " and which'emphasizes " d e s i g n and e x p r e s s i o n . . . " ' ^ 1 ' i s p a r t i c u l a r l y e f f e c t i v e . . l ^ E d w a r d A l b e e , "An I n t e r v i e w w i t h Edward A l b e e , " i n The A m e r i c a n T h e a t r e  Today, ed. A l a n S. Downer (New Y o r k ; B a s i c Books, I n c . , 1967), p.119. 13willy A p e l , " A r i a , " H a r v a r d D i c t i o n a r y o f M u s i c (Cambridge; B e l s n a p P r e s s , 1944), p.51. 1 4-Idem. - 154 -A n o t h e r t e c h n i q u e , w h i c h A l b e e u s e s i n . A D e l i c a t e B a l a n c e t o h e l p e f f e c t t h e a u d i e n c e ' s i n t e r n a t t r e n t a l i e n a t i o n f r o m t h e i l l u s i o n i s t h e use o f C l a i r e as a t y p e o f c h o r u s . L i k e Grandma i n The A m e r i c a n  Dream o r B u t l e r i n T i n y A l i c e , C l a i r e ' s o b j e c t i v i t y a b o ut t h e o t h e r c h a r a c t e r s and t h e s i t u a t i o n s i n w h i c h t h e y a r e i n v o l v e d a l l o w s many o f her l i n e s t o comment m e a n i n g f u l l y upon t h e a c t i o n . W r i t i n g a b out t h e c h o r u s i n t h e Greek T h e a t r e , George R. K e r n o d l e says the c h o r u s p r o v i d e d "a background o f group r e s p o n s e , e n l a r g i n g and r e v e r b e r a t i n g t h e emotions o f t h e a c t o r s , sometimes p r o t e s t i n g and o p p o s i n g b u t i n g e n e r a l s e r v i n g as i d e a l s p e c t a t o r s t o s t i r and l e a d t h e r e a c t i o n s o f t h e audience. " 15 B r e c h t o p i n e s t h a t t h e c h o r u s i n Greek T h e a t r e had a b a s i c a l l y a l i e n a t i n g e f f e c t , w h i c h i s t h e r e a s o n he adapt e d t h e c o n v e n t i o n t o E p i c T h e a t r e . I n a n a r t i c l e e n t i t l e d " M a s t e r f u l Treatment o f a M o d e l , " B r e c h t w r i t e s : " . . . t h e o l d p l a y was h i s t o r i c a l l y so remote as t o tempt nobody t o i d e n t i f y h i m s e l f w i t h i t s p r i n c i p a l f i g u r e . Here t o o i t s e l e m e n t s o f e p i c f o r m were, a h e l p , and. p r o v i d e d something o f i n t e r e s t t o o u r t h e a t r e . . . G r e e k dramaturgy u s e s c e r t a i n f o r m s o f a l i e n a t i o n , n o t a b l y i n t e r v e n t i o n s b y t h e c h o r u s ^ . J - ^ O ^ A l t h o u g h A l b e e does n o t use a c h o r u s i n t h e t r a d i t i o n a l sense (he u s e s a n i n d i v i d u a l r a t h e r t h a n . a g r o u p ) , he does u s e C l a i r e ' s l i n e s , as w e l l as t h e o t h e r c h a r a c t e r s r e a c t i o n s t o them^: t o h e l p t o e n l a r g e t h e emotion s o f t h e c h a r a c t e r s and t o " s t i r and l e a d " t h e a u d i e n c e : i n a d d i t i o n , he u s e s them ^ G e o r g e R. K e r n o d l e , I n v i t a t i o n t o t h e T h e a t r e (New Y o r k : H a r c o u r t , B r a c e . and W o r l d , I n c . , 1967), p. l6^» - ^ I n B r e c h t o n Theatre.: The Development o f an A e s t h e t i c , e d . Jo h n W i l l e t t , (New Y o r k : H i l l and Wang, 1964), p.210. - 156 -t o c o n d i t i o n a n a e s t h e t i c d i s t a n c e s i m i l a r t o Brecht.'s " A - E f f e c t Q i ' T h i s c a n be seen q u i t e c l e a r l y i n A c t One when A g n e s , e x a s p e r a t e d by C l a i r e ' s f r e q u e n t and p e n e t r a t i n g comments, " r e g a r d s C l a i r e f o r a moment, t h e n . .. d e c i d e s she — CLAIRE — i s n o t i n t h e room w i t h them. AGNES w i l l i g n o r e  CLAIRE'S coming comments u n t i l o t h e r w i s e i n d i c a t e d . TOBIAS w i l l do t h i s ,  t o o , b u t u n c o m f o r t a b l y , e m b a r r a s s e d l y " (p.39). C l a i r e , o f c o u r s e , c o n t i n u e s t o comment upon Agnes' and T o b i a s ' c o n v e r s a t i o n , h e r s e l f i g n o r i n g the game Agnes has c h o s e n t o p l a y . When Agnes s a y s o f J u l i a " ...she's welcome, o f c o u r s e " (p.3.9), C l a i r e s a y s " R i g h t on s c h e d u l e , once e v e r y t h r e e y e a r ' s . . . " (p.4-0). Agnes " c l o s e s h e r eyes f o r a moment t o keep i g n o r i n g C I A I RE," e v e n t u a l l y s a y i n g about J u l i a , "her p l a c e i s p r o p e r l y h e r e , as f o r some i t i s n o t " (p..40). C l a i r e says "One, two, t h r e e , f o u r , down t h e y go^-j a few l i n e s l a t e r she s a y s , "Damned i f y o u do, damned i f y o u d o n ' t " (p.41). E v e n t u a l l y she d e l i v e r s a "mocking s i n g - s o n g " w h i c h c a u s e s Agnes t o t u r n on h e r . C l a i r e thenr'says "Ooh, I am h e r e , a f t e r a l l . I exist-!-" (p.4-1) The use o f t h e s i n g - s o n g c l e v e r l y e x a g g e r a t e s C l a i r e ' s l i n e s t o s u c h a degree t h a t she, must be n o t i c e d . Her use o f song a t t h i s p o i n t i s c o n s i s -t e n t w i t h t h e m u s i c and song she u s e s i n A c t Two, Scene Two when .she e n t e r s w i t h t h e a c c o r d i a n . I n a d d i t i o n , i t i s s i m i l a r t o t h e " l i t a n y " she has a l r e a d y d e l i v e r e d (p.38). Her l i n e s i n a l l t h e s e i n s t a n c e s , as o f t e n as n o t d e l i v e r e d t o no one i n p a r t i c u l a r , 1 4 - comment upon t h e a c t i o n so as t o emphasize o r c l a r i f y i t f o r - t h e a u d i e n c e . l ^ I n a t l e a s t one m a j o r p r o d u c t i o n o f t h e p l a y — t h a t o f t h e A m e r i c a n C o n s e r v a t o r y T h e a t r e i n San F r a n c i s c o (Summer, 1968) — C l a i r e ' s " c h o r i c " l i n e s were d e l i v e r e d s t r a i g h t t o t h e a u d i e n c e , a f a c t w h i c h h e l p e d t o draw a t t e n t i o n t o t h e p l a y as a game. Claire's function as a chorus i n the. play i s also acknowledged by the other characters, c h i e f l y by Agnes. In Act Two, Scene Two, she says to C l a i r e , "Ah, how simple, i t i s from the sidelines (p.95). In the. same scene, she also says " C l a i r e , who watches from the sidelines, has seen so very much, has seen us a l l so c l e a r l y . . . " (p.110). In Act Three, Agnes says '"Claire has. never missed a chance to pa r t i c i p a t e i n watching" (p.I4I). • I t i s pr e c i s e l y because Cl a i r e sees so c l e a r l y that the charac-ters often prefer to ignore her: she endangers t h e i r positions which are so dependent upon i l l u s i o n s . This f a c t becomes' important when the characters • are reluctant to face questions which threaten t h e i r security: i n such instances, Claire's comments and questions are the only things which compel the play's development. This can be seen near the end of Act One when Harry and Edna bring t h e i r "terror", into Tobias" home. At t h i s point, a l l the characters except Claire are a f r a i d to face, the reasons f o r the v i s i t . Agnes asks Harry and Edna with "a strained smile"(p.49) "Have you been to the club?" The guests ignore the question and any other that w i l l necessitate a frank answer. .Claire, however, does not: she says,; "The question — . ' l e s s I'm going deaf from a l l the alcohol — was (Southern accent) .'Have you-all . been to the club?'" (p.49) Later when Edna asks "How i s J u l i a " (p.51), Cl a i r e says "Wrong question."- Eventually she asks "Why did you come?;" (p.51) and then queries "What happened, Harry?" (p.52) Throughout the scene, she i s the o n l y character who asks the questions which keep the. play i n motion As - a r e s u l t , the audience looks to her f o r guidance and c l a r i f i c a t i o n . Moreover, - 15? -because h e r q u e s t i o n s d e m o n s t r a t e h e r o b j e c t i v i t y b o t h by t h e i r use cf m i m i c r y and t h e i r c r y p t i c s u c c i n c t n e s s , t h e a u d i e n c e i s l e d t o d e v e l o p a s i m i l a r sense o f o b j e c t i v i t y . A l b e e ' s use of C l a i r e t h e r e f o r e adds t o t h e o v e r a l l d r a m a t i c e f f e c t he i s a t t e m p t i n g t o a c h i e v e . T h i s o v e r a l l e f f e c t i n w h i c h t h e n a t u r a l i s t i c f l o w o f t h e p l a y i s I n t e r r u p t e d b y t h e i n s e r t i o n o f t e c h n i q u e s n o t c o n v e n t i o n a l t o N a t u r a l i s m O f t e n I s c o n d i t i o n e d by moments s i m i l a r t o some i n Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a  W o o l f ? C l a i r e ' s e n t r a n c e w i t h t h e a c c o r d i a n ^ f o r example,- i s s i m i l a r i n . e f f e c t t o George's e n t r a n c e w i t h t h e snapdragons. B o t h a r e h e r a l d e d by b l a r i n g n o i s e s w h i c h s u g g e s t t h e i n t e r r u p t i v e n a t u r e o f t h e scene t o f o l l o w . I n Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o olf? t h e do o r chimes c l a n g l o u d l y ; i n A D e l i c a t e B a l a n c e , t h e r e i s a l o u d ' " b u r s t f r o m a n a c c o r d i a n " ( p . 9 1 ) . F o l l o w i n g C l a i r e ' s e n t r a n c e , t h e i n t e r r u p t i v e n a t u r e o f t h e scene i s e x t e n d e d by C l a i r e ' s use o f m i m i c r y and t h e chords she p l a y s on h e r a c c o r d i a n t o pu n c -t u a t e h e r s p e e c h . A t one p o i n t t h e s e c h o r d s "drown" t h e c o n v e r s a t i o n . A s i m i l a r e f f e c t i s a c h i e v e d l a t e r - i n t h e same scene when C l a i r e ' s b l a r i n g c h o r d , as w e l l a s h e r ."yodel,, t o a n um-pah b a s e " ( p . 119) o c c u r s s i m u l t a n -e o u s l y t o J u l i a ' s a p pearance w i t h T o b i a s ' p i s t o l . M o s t i m p o r t a n t h e r e i s t h e f a c t t h a t t h e a u d i e n c e sees J u l i a b e f o r e t h e o t h e r c h a r a c t e r s do. C l a i r e * g a m e - p l a y i n g a c t s as a d i s t r a c t i o n f o r t h e o t h e r c h a r a c t e r s so t h a t J u l i a c a n make h e r e n t r a n c e , " h e r h a i r . . . w i l d , h e r f a c e t e a r - s t r e a k e d " ( p . 1 1 9 ) . The t h e a t r i c a l n a t u r e o f t h e scene w h i c h i s d e v e l o p e d by t h e u n n a t u r a l j u x t a p o s i t i o n of C l a i r e ' s comic y o d e l i n g and J u l i a ' s d e s p e r a t e e n t r a n c e i s - 158 -e x t e n d e d by t h e u n d e r - r e a c t l o n s o f the c h a r a c t e r s t o J u l i a ' s b e h a v i o r . A l t h o u g h Edna " g a s p s " ( p . 1 1 9 ) , l i t t l e o t h e r s i g n o f shock i s r e g i s t e r e d . A g n e s , • n e i t h e r f r i g h t e n e d f o r h e r s e l f n o r c o n c e r n e d f o r h e r d a u g h t e r ' s s t a t e - o f - m i n d , becomes m e r e l y a n g r y w i t h a " s o f t i n t e n s i t y " ( p . 1 2 0 ) . E d n a , ."becoming A g n e s " (p.121),admonishes J u l i a m e r c i l e s s l y , h e r b e h a v i o r u n n a t u r a l i n i t s s a d i s t i c s e v e r i t y : she c a l l s . J u l i a a " w i l f u l , w i c k e d , w r e t c h e d g i r l . . . " (p.122) and c a l m l y s l a p s , h e r f a c e . The scene ends o n l y when A g n e s , s i g h i n g , t a k e s J u l i a u nder h e r arm and " l e a d s h e r o u t " ( p . 1 2 3 ) . As w i t h t h e scene f o l l o w i n g George's e n t r a n c e w i t h t h e snapdragons i n Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? t h e e x a g g e r a t e d n a t u r e o f t h e scene s u b s i d e s . A l t h o u g h t h e a c t i o n s o f t h e c h a r a c t e r s i n t h e scene c a n be l o g i c a l l y e x p l a i n e d , t h e o v e r a l l e f f e c t o f t h e e m o t i o n a l d i a l o g u e , u n d e r -l i n e d and emphasized by t h e use o f m u s i c and v i o l e n t a c t i o n , i s s i m i l a r t o t h e effect o f t h e A b s u r d t e c h n i q u e s i n t h e snapdragon sc e n e . The s t a g e i l l u s i o n has become more e m o t i o n a l j u s t as t h e c h a r a c t e r s have become more m a n i c . The mood o f t h e p l a y has been i n t e n s i f i e d so t h a t scenes s u c h as T o b i a s ' f i n a l " a r i a " (p.l64-) c a n be a c c e p t e d . A t t h e same t i m e t h e a u d i e n c e has been.made aware o f t h e p l a y i t s e l f by t h e use o f t e c h n i q u e s w h i c h a r e j a r r i n g l y i n t e r r u p t i v e . • • A l t h o u g h t h e use o f i n t e r r u p t i v e d e v i c e s i n A D e l i c a t e B a l a n c e i s l e s s o b v i o u s t h a n i t i s i n t h e o t h e r A l b e e p l a y s d i s c u s s e d i n t h i s work, s u c h a use i s s t i l l e v i d e n t and r e l e v a n t . I n h i s a r t i c l e on t h e p l a y , B i g s b y p o i n t s out t h a t " t o s e v e r a l c r i t i c s . . . t h e p l a y ' s c h i e f f a u l t l a y i n i t s - I m -m i x t u r e o f s t y l e s . F o r one, t h e p l a y moved f r o m " r e a l i s m t o f a n t a s y , " w h i l e t o a n o t h e r , p e r h a p s more s u r p r i s i n g l y , f r o m 'symbolism t o ' ^ n a t u r a l i s m . ' a ^ B i g s b y d i s m i s s e s t h e s e s t a t e m e n t s w i t h an o b s e r v a t i o n w h i c h i s c r u c i a l t o an a p p r e c i a t i o n and u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f A l b e e ' s work. He w r i t e s : ' ...one o f the most i m p o r t a n t l e s s o n s w h i c h A l b e e has t o o f f e r t o t h e A m e r i -c a n T h e a t r e i s t h a t d i s t i n c t i o n s s u c h as t h e s e no l o n g e r make any s e n s e . . A. • D e l i c a t e B a l a n c e , l i k e Who's A f r a i d o f  V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? , d e f i e s s u c h c l a s s i f i c a -t i o n . 19 s Albee.'s m e r g i n g o f d i v e r g e n t c o n v e n t i o n s e x t e n d s and r e v e a l s t h e c o n t e n t o f h i s p l a y s a t t h e same t i m e as i t p r o v i d e s a t h e a t r i c a l e x p e r i e n c e w h i c h i s d i s t u r b i n g l y t e a c h i n g f o r t h e a u d i e n c e . l 8 B i g s b y , p .234. 1 9 B i g s b y , p.23-4. CHAPTER F I V E CONCLUSION "And I have, sometimes wondered i f i t w o u l d n ' t make b e t t e r sense t o t e a c h bud-d i n g p l a y w r i g h t s , i n s t e a d o f t h e u s u a l D r a m a t i c T e c h n i q u e s , two r u l e s grounded i n human nature': i f y o u w i s h t o a t t r a c t t h e a u d i e n c e ' s a t t e n t i o n , be v i o l e n t ; i f y o u w i s h t o h o l d i t , be v i o l e n t a g a i n . w — E r i c B e n t l e y Edward A l b e e ' s c o n c e r n w i t h t h e i l l u s i o n s ' p e o p l e use t o escape t h e r e a l i t y o f t h e i r l i v e s h-: s prompt^! t h e emphasis on games i n h i s p l a y s . F o r many p e o p l e , games have c e a s e d t o be c o n s t r u c t i v e and c r e a t i v e ways o f c o n t r o l l i n g t i m e and f a c i l i t a t i n g communication;, r a t h e r t h e y have become mere e s c a p e - r o u t e s f r o m t h e f a c t s and f e a r s o f W e s t e r n s o c i e t y t h a t A l b e e f e e l s must be acknowledged and c o n t r o l l e d i f man i s t o s u r v i v e . O n l y by u n d e r s t a n d i n g t h e r e a l i t y o f h i s l i f e c a n t h e i n d i v i d u a l c o n t r o l i t . Such c o n t r o l may d e v e l o p f r o m a c o n s c i o u s use o f games w h i c h c o n s t r u c t and employ i l l u s i o n s . The c h o i c e o f u s i n g i l l u s i o n t o structure one's l i f e has one i n h e r e n t o b l i g a t i o n , however: r e s p o n s i b i l i t y t o t h e t r u t h w h i c h s u c h i l l u s i o n s c a n a c h i e v e . When t h i s r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i s a c c e p t e d , i n t i m a c y •becomes p o s s i b l e j u s t as o b j e c t i v i t y becomes d i f f i c u l t . A b a l a n c e between i l l u s i o n and r e a l i t y must be a c h i e v e d as must a compromise between awareness o f a'game and abandonment t o i t . - 16D -The development o f A l b e e ' s t a l e n t t h a t i s d e m o n s t r a t e d i n h i s p r o g r e s s f r o m The Zoo S t o r y t o A D e l i c a t e B a l a n c e s u g g e s t s a r e s o l u t i o n o f h i s q u e s t i o n i n g o f t h e b a l a n c e between i l l u s i o n and r e a l i t y i n l i f e . The impasse t h a t prompts J e r r y ' s s u i c i d e i n The Zoo S t o r y — a n impasse i n w h i c h a n awareriess o f games s t r a n g l e s t h e a b i l i t y t o communicate — i s overcome i n A D e l i c a t e B a l a n c e ; Agnes i s a b l e t o m a i n t a i n o r d e r i n t h e f a c e o f m e a n i n g l e s s n e s s s i m p l y by c h o o s i n g t o . The d e s p e r a t e f r u s t r a t i o n o f t h e Nurse i n The D e a t h o f B e s s i e S m i t h i s overcome i n Agnes' case by t h e c o n s c i o u s use o f games and a n a c c e p t a n c e o f t h e r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s i n h e r e n t t o t h e c r e a t i o n o f i l l u s i o n s . Whether M a r t h a i n Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a  W o o l f ? o r T o b i a s i n A D e l i c a t e B a l a n c e w i l l be a b l e t o e s t a b l i s h a s i m i l a r b a l a n c e i s u n d e t e r m i n e d . But ,1h a t A l b e e now sees a' s o l u t i o n t o t h e p r o b l e m , o f " n o t h i n g " — a s o l u t i o n n o t e v i d e n t i n h i s e a r l y p l a y s — i s d e t e r m i n e d . George i n Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ? and Agnes i n A D e l i c a t e B a l a n c e s u g g e s t t h a t t h e r e a r e a l t e r n a t i v e s t o s u i c i d e j . and a l t e r n a t i v e s w h i c h s t i l l f a c e and a c c e p t t h e t r u t h . A l l t r u t h as A l b e e sees i t , however, i s • r e l a t i v e . Dreams, t o o , he w o u l d - s a y , a r e f a c t s . . The c r e a t i v e "slump" t h a t some c r i t i c s f e e l has c h a r a c t e r i z e d A l b e e ' s ' c a r e e r s i n c e t h e p r o d u c t i o n o f A D e l i c a t e B a l a n c e i s p e r h a p s e x p l a i n e d by t h e t h e m a t i c r e s o l u t i o n t h a t t h e p l a y r e p r e s e n t s . P e r h a p s A l b e e ' s ' e x p l o -r a t i o n o f games and i l l u s i o n s has come t o an end. One would l i k e t o t h i n k s t h a t h i s e x a m i n a t i o n o f t h e r e a l i t i e s w h i c h u n d e r l y t h e s e games and i l l u s i o n s has j u s t begun. The s i g n i f i c a n c e o f t h e v i o l e n c e , d i s c o r d and i s o l a t i o n - 162 -w h i c h h i s c h a r a c t e r s d r a m a t i z e i s o n l y b e g i n n i n g t o be f e l t and u n d e r -s t o o d i n Western s o c i e t y . A p l a y w r i g h t who i s a b l e t o p r e s e n t t h e s e r e a l i t i e s i n a d i s t u r b i n g l y m e a n i n g f u l way i s most needed. I f A l b e e i s i n d e e d i n a "slump," t h e pathway o u t p e r h a p s c a n be f o u n d i n h i s two most e x p e r i m e n t a l p l a y s , The Sandbox and The A m e r i c a n Dream; e x p e r i m e n t a t i o n t h a t has as i t s a i m t h e awakening o f t h e a u d i e n c e t o t h e r e a l i t i e s o f " t h i s s l i p p i n g l a n d . " Does a v i o l e n t s o c i e t y need v i o l e n t p l a y s : o r do v i o l e n t p l a y s p e r p e t r a t e a v i o l e n t s o c i e t y ? A l b e e ' s f u t u r e as a p l a y -w r i g h t p o s s i b l y l i e s i n e x p l o r i n g t h e t e n s i o n between t h e s e q u e s t i o n s . C e r t a i n l y h i s c a r e e r t h u s f a r acknowledges h i s a b i l i t y t o t a c k l e t h e p r o b l e m . SELECTED L I S T OF REFERENCES The f o l l o w i n g l i s t i s by no means a comprehensive b i b l i o g r a p h y on Edward A l b e e . I t i s , r a t h e r , a l i s t o f books and a r t i c l e s p e r t i -n e n t t o t h i s t h e s i s , d i v i d e d i n t o f o u r a r e a s : A l b e e p u b l i c a t i o n s , b a c k g r o u n d m a t e r i a l , d i s c u s s i o n s o f g a m e - p l a y i n g , and a r t i c l e s . c o n -c e r n i n g Edward A l b e e ' s p l a y s . A l b e e P u b l i c a t i o n s A l b e e , Edward. The A m e r i c a n Dream (and) The Zoo S t o r y . New York: S i g n e t , 1963. . A D e l i c a t e B a l a n c e . New York: P o c k e t Books, I n c . , 1967. . T i n y A l i c e . New York: P o c k e t Books, I n c . , 1968. . Two P l a y s b y Edward A l b e e : The .Sandbox. The Death o f B e s s i e Smith. New York: S i g n e t , 1963. . "Which T h e a t r e i s t h e A b s u r d One?" i n The Modern A m e r i c a n T h e a t r e , ed. A l v i n B. Kernan. Englewood C l i f f s : P r e n t i c e - H a l l , 1967. . Who's A f r a i d o f V i r g i n i a Woolf? New York: P o c k e t Books, I n c . , 1963. B a c k g r o u n d M a t e r i a l A b e l , L i o n e l . M e t a t h e a t r e : A New View o f D r a m a t i c Form. New York: H i l l and Wang, 1963. A r t a u d , A n t o n i n . The T h e a t r e and i t s Double. New York: Grove P r e s s , 1958. B e n t l e y , E r i c . The L i f e o f t h e Drama. New York: Atheneum, I96/+. . The P l a y w r i g h t as T h i n k e r . C l e v e l a n d : W o r l d P u b l i s h i n g Co., 1955. - 163 -- 16:4 -, ed.. The T h e o r y o f t h e Modern S t a g e ; An I n t r o d u c t i o n t o Modern T h e a t r e and Drama-. Harmondsworth: P e n q u i n Books, 1968. B e r g s o n , H e n r i . Comedy. Garden C i t y : A nchor Books, 1956. B r u s t e i n , R o b e r t S a n f o r d . Seasons o f D i s c o n t e n t ; D r a m a t i c O p i n i o n s .  1959-1965. New Y o r k ; Simon and S c h u s t e r , 1965. C h i a r i , J o s e p h . Landmarks o f Contemporary Drama. LSifdoni: H e r b e r t J e n k i n s , 1965. Cooper, Lane.. An A r i s t o t e l i a n T heory o f Comedy. New York: H a r c o u r t , B r a c e and Co., 1922. C o r r i g a n , R o b e r t , and James L. R o s e n b e r g , e d s . The C o n t e x t and C r a f t  o f Drama. San F r a n c i s c o : C h a n d l e r P u b l i s h i n g Co., 1964. Drew, E l i z a b e t h . D i s c o v e r i n g Drama. London: J o n a t h a n Cape, 1937. E l l i o t t , R o b e r t C. The Power o f S a t i r e ; M a g i c , R i t u a l , A r t . P r i n c e -t o r i : P r i n c e t o n U n i v . P r e s s , 1960. E n g l i s h I n s t i t u t e . I d e a s i n t h e Drama. New York:. C o l u m b i a U n i v . P r e s s , 1964. E s s l i n , M a r t i n . The T h e a t r e o f t h e A b s u r d . New Y o r k : A n c h o r Books, 1961. F e r g u s s o n , F r a n c i s . The, I d e a o f a Theatre.' P r i n c e t o n : P r i n c e t o n U n i v . P r e s s , 194-9. Guthke, K a r l S. Modern Tragicomedy: An I n v e s t i g a t i o n i n t o t h e Nature o f  th e Genre. New Y o r k : Random House, 1966. H u n n i g h e r , B e n j a m i n . The O r i g i n o f t h e T h e a t r e . • New Y o r k ; H i l l and Wang, 1961. I o n e s c o , Eugene. Notes and C o u n t e r n o t e s . New Y o r k : Grove P r e s s , 1964. K e r n o d l e , George R. i n v i t a t i o n t o t h e T h e a t r e . New Y o r k : H a r c o u r t , B r a c e and W o r l d , I n c . , 1967. L a n g e r , Susanne K. F e e l i n g and Form. London: R o u t l e d g e and Kegan P a u l , 1953. _______ P h i l o s o p h y i n a New Key. Cambridge: H a r v a r d U n i v . P r e s s , 1957. L e s s e r , Simon 0. F i c t i o n and t h e U n c o n s c i o u s . B o s t o n : Beacon P r e s s , 1957. - 166 -McLean, A l b e r t F. A m e r i c a n V a u d e v i l l e as R i t u a l . U n i v . o f Kentucky-P r e s s , 1955. McLuhan, H e r b e r t M a r s h a l l . U n d e r s t a n d i n g M e d i a ; The E x t e n s i o n s o f  Mani T o r o n t o : S i g n e t Books, 1964. M i l l e r , A r t h u r . "The F a m i l y i n Modern Drama," The A t l a n t i c , 197 ( A p r i l , 1956), 35-4L S h a r p e , R o b e r t B o i e s . I r o n y i n t h e Dramas A n E s s a y on I m p e r s o n a t i o n , Shock, - C a t h a r s i s . C h a p e l H i l l ; U n i v . o f C a r o l i n a P r e s s , 1959. S t y a n , J o h n L. The Dark Comedy. Cambridge: Cambridge U n i v . P r e s s , 1962. Taubman, Howard. The M a k i n g o f A m e r i c a n T h e a t r e . New Y o r k ; Coward McCann, 1965. T a y l o r , J o h n R u s s e l l . A n g e r and A f t e r . Harmondsworth:- P e l i c a n Books, • 1963. V o s , N e l v i n . The Drama o f Comedy: V i c t i m and V i c t o r . Richmond: J o h n -Knox, 1966. W e l l w a r t h , George. The T h e a t r e o f P r o t e s t and P a r a d o x . New Y o r k : New Y o r k U n i v . P r e s s , 1964. 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Choose. That i s , invent:," Ex- i s t e n t i a l i s m and Human Emotions. New York: Philosophical L i -brary, 1957. Szasz, Thomas S. The Myth of Mental I l l n e s s . New York: Hoeber-Harper, 19 61. "Watts, Alan. Psychotherapy East and West. New York: Pantheon Books, 1961. A r t i c l e s Concerning Edward Albee's Plays Ballew, Leighton, M. "Who's Afraid of Tiny A l i c e ? " Georgia Review. xx (1966), 292-299. Baxandall, Lee. "The Theatre of Edward Albee," i n The Modern American  •Theatre, ed. A l v i n B. Kernan. Englewood C l i f f s : Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1967, 80-98. Bigsby, C. W. E. "Curiouser and Curiouser: A study of Edward Albee's .'Tiny A l i c e ' , " Modern Drama X, i i i (December, 1967), 258-266. . "The Strategy of Madness: An Analysis of Edward Albee's ,'A Delicate Balance'," Contemporary Literature. IX, i (Spring, I 9 6 9 ) , 223-235. . "'Who's Afraid of V i r g i n i a Woolf?': Edward Albee's Morality Play," Journal of American Studies. I, i i (1967), 257-268. '. 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