Composers and their stage works 

The Lady From Dubeque

Edward Albee.

Play. 4 men, 4 women; interior

Morosco Theatre - Jan 31, 1980

The setting is a suburban living room, where three young couples are playing "Twenty Questions." It is Saturday night, drinks have been plentiful, and the conversation soon moves from good humour to revealing sharpness as underlying contempt begins to surface. As it happens, the hostess, who has the most abrasive tongue of all, is also dying of cancer, and the party ends when her pain becomes so intense that her husband must carry her up to bed.

After the stage is empty a handsome, mysterious woman of indeterminate age, accompanied by a handsome black man of equally indeterminate age, enters, and after the two have satisfied themselves that they are in the right place they make themselves at home as the act curtain falls. In the morning they are still there to greet the baffled young husband, and his ailing wife, when they come down for breakfast, and while questions of their presence-and identity-are raised, satisfactory answers are not forthcoming.

Unruffled and urbane, the two soon confront the guests of the previous evening as well, with startling results, and while the claim that the mysterious lady is, in fact, the mother of the dying wife seems to be accepted, intriguing and curious inconsistencies remain. Is she, in truth, the angel of death? Are she and her inscrutable escort real or apparitions? In the end there are no neat answers but the questions raised, and debated, reverberate in the mind long after the play itself has ended.