Composers and their stage works 

A Delicate Balance

Edward Albee

Pulitzer Prize Winner. Play. M2 (60s) F4 (30-50s). A living-room.



Agnes and Tobias (Mommy and Daddy) are long married, comfortably off and remain together out of habit.

Agnes is intelligent but talkative and boredom makes her contemplate the attractions of being mad. She accuses the taciturn Tobias of having an affair with her alcoholic sister, Claire, who lives with them and takes refuge from life's perils in alcohol and self-lacerating wit. After a few drinks Tobias begins to talk about how he killed his pet cat because it did not love him.

One night Julia, Agnes and Tobias' daughter, comes home, escaping from her fourth marriage. They are visited by Edna and Harry, their oldest friends, who are deeply disturbed by a great shock they have had and an irrational fear of going to their own house.

Tobias has to try to maintain a balance between his family obligations and loyalty to his panic-stricken unreasoning friends. Although he has reservations about his friends he insists that they stay.

The door is locked and Tobias' family is made to recognise how they have lost love through undervaluing it. Mommy again ponders on how easily she might go mad.