Composers and their stage works 

The American Dream


Edward Albee.

Play - an absurdist satire. A long-running off-Broadway success, presented in tandem with The Death Of Bessie Smith.
York Playhouse, Jan 24, 1961

2 men, 3 women: interior.


Mommy and Daddy, seated on identical armchairs in a symmetrically barren living room, are making small talk. Mommy regales Daddy with her department store adventures as they wait for things to be taken care of. They bicker in baby talk. The conventional dialogue is pared as if by a surgeon's knife, and it is caustic and hilarious. Mommy and Daddy are types, all right. She is the domineering upper-class wife, he the long-suffering, acquiescent husband. Then Grandma, who is supposed to be a superannuated nuisance appears. She is well aware that her daughter, Mommy, wishes to get rid of her. She is full of an old woman's complaints but she is turned into a sassy old party.

We are next introduced to Mrs. Barker, a club lady, whose part in the charade remains enigmatic until almost the end. When she arrives, Mommy invites her to sit down. 'Are you comfortable?' she asks, like a thoughtful hostess. 'Won't you take off your dress?' And Mrs. Barker does! At last the Young Man comes on, plastic, perfect and looking for employment. His inability to feel anything convinces Grandma that he is just what Mommy and Daddy wanted all along. They gleefully adopt him!