Cocktails, Accordions & Shared DNA: Chart the History of A Delicate Balance

first_img The Making of a Playwright In the artistic hotbed of 1940s New York, Albee met celebrated poet W.H. Auden, who then arranged a meeting with Thornton Wilder. Albee was writing poetry at the time, but after reading his work, the famous Our Town playwright suggested that Albee consider becoming a dramatist. “I don’t think he saw the incipient dramatist in my poems,” Albee told The Telegraph in 2011, “I think he was trying to save poetry from me.” Albee’s first play The Zoo Story opened in Berlin in 1958, but it was his scorching 1962 drama Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? that secured his place in American theater history. Edward Albee turned the drawing room comedies and dramas of the 1950s upside-down with his brilliantly brutal works, including the blistering one-act The Zoo Story and his game-changing barnburner Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? But it wasn’t until 1967 that he garnered his first Pulitzer Prize for A Delicate Balance. Wealthy, WASPy older couple Agnes and Tobias live in suburbia with Agnes’ hard-drinking sister Claire, but things are thrown into chaos by the arrival of their daughter Julia, whose fourth marriage has crumbled, and their friends Harry and Edna, who are fleeing from an unnamed terror in their home. Read up on this play before it opens at the Golden Theatre on November 20, directed by Pam MacKinnon and starring Glenn Close, John Lithgow, Lindsay Duncan, Martha Plimpton, Bob Balaban and Clare Higgins. Big Shoes to Fill After a 1973 movie with Katharine Hepburn and Paul Scofield earned decent reviews but very little love in the awards department, a 1996 Broadway revival fared better. George Grizzard and Rosemary Harris were well-received as Tobias and Agnes, but it was Elaine Stritch as the boozy, accordion-playing, truth-telling Claire who left her mark (as always) on the show’s juiciest role. In the new revival, three-time Tony winner Glenn Close chose not to compete with the memory of Stritch’s performance; that honor instead goes to acclaimed British actress Lindsay Duncan. “I wouldn’t begrudge Elaine Stritch anything,” Duncan told the L.A. Times. She’s one of your legends, and as far as I’m concerned, she can have it all. Thankfully, I can only do the Claire that I can do.” When Stars Align While the number of Awards—Tony, Olivier, Emmy, Golden Globe—among this cast is staggering, no one is resting on their laurels. “All of us have come to the moment where you sink to you knees and roll on the floor,” Close said on The Today Show of working on Albee’s play. But the challenges were worth it—the production that lured Close back to Broadway for the first time in 17 years is drawing audiences in record numbers. It’s not easy to get a full cast of marquee names, so we’re guessing they all share’s Bob Balaban’s delight at being a member of this ensemble: “With the play, the director and the cast,” he said, “I’d be happy to just move scenery.” View Comments Write What You Know When Albee started writing A Delicate Balance, he ended up right back in the WASPy world he escaped—Harry and Edna were even based on a real couple of the same name who were friends of his parents. According to Albee, the play “has to do with that class, and that social and political structure that I grew up around, unfortunately, and left as soon as I could.” A Delicate Balance opened on Broadway on September 23, 1966 starring real-life married couple Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy as Tobias and Agnes, Rosemary Murphy as Claire and Marian Seldes as Julia. After mixed reviews, Seldes was the only one to walk away with a trophy on Tony night in 1967, but we’re guessing Albee wasn’t too disappointed. He’d already won the 1967 Pulitzer Prize for drama, an award many felt was overdue. Virginia Woolf had been up for a Pulitzer in ’63, but the committee deemed it insufficiently “uplifting”; several jurors resigned in protest. But A Delicate Balance wasn’t a consolation prize: “We were right then, and we’re right now,” said juror Mason Brown. To the Theater Born Albee came by his velvet-barbed language honestly. Born in 1928 in Washington, D.C., at under a month old he was adopted by a wealthy vaudeville heir and his socialite wife and moved to the ritzy town of Larchmont, NY. It wasn’t his natural environment. “When I was told that I was adopted I remember being rather relieved,” Albee told The Guardian. “I just didn’t feel that I belonged. And the older I got, the more I was able to observe the way they lived their lives and the more I was convinced that there was something very amiss there.” Young Albee was thrown out of several private schools and sent to the military academy; at 20, he left for good and found the home he’d been looking for in Greenwich Village. He never saw his father again, and it would be 17 years before he again saw his mother. Together Again In 1982, Glenn Close and John Lithgow became great friends while filming the screen adaptation of The World According to Garp. (Maybe they picked up a couple of tips on A Delicate Balance: Original stars Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy also starred in the film.) They both earned Oscar nods but haven’t worked together since, though their connection remains strong. “I’m the male Glenn Close, and she’s the female John Lithgow,” Lithgow told the New York Times, “In that we’re basically serious theater actors who have been lucky to find great material to play in film and television. We share DNA in a lot of ways, which can help create a marriage.” Related Shows A Delicate Balance Show Closed This production ended its run on Feb. 22, 2015last_img read more

Ex-Laker Derek Fisher hoping to go out a champion one last time with Thunder

first_imgA sense of calmness radiated through Derek Fisher’s voice as he boarded the Thunder’s team plane, giving a sense that not much has changed since he wore a Lakers uniform.He’s averaging a career-low 2.7 points on 35.2-percent shooting, raising the never-ending gripes about Fisher’s age (39), a streaky shooting stroke and a lack of foot speed. Yet, his coaches and teammates endlessly laud him for his on-court hustle and locker-room leadership. But as he sat on the team plane before the Thunder traveled this week for a set of back-to-back games in Atlanta and Memphis, one significant backdrop was different.Fisher will retire after this season, putting an end to an 18-year career that brought him five NBA championships and becoming the league’s second-oldest player behind the Lakers’ Steve Nash. “I rarely use the word never, but I feel like this is a good opportunity to put a cap on a great career,” Fisher said in an interview this week with this newspaper. “I think we have a legitimate chance to make a run at the title.”Fisher’s quest to earn his sixth championship seems realistic. The Thunder (17-4) enter tonight’s game against the Lakers (10-11) at Chesapeake Energy Arena with a four-game winning streak, an undefeated home record (10-0) and the NBA’s leading scorer in Kevin Durant (28.4 points per game on 47.2-percent shooting). Fisher also notices Durant and Russell Westbrook adopting similar traits from Bryant that ensured five NBA titles. “Kevin has a lot of Kobe’s versatility. Kobe is a very versatile player and has all the skills. He can shoot, he can dribble, he can pass, he can defend and he wants to win,” Fisher said. “With Russell, I see similarities in the way that Kobe wanted to impose his will on every game. They try to physically dominate so they can attack the game. They have no conscience shooting the ball. They take and make the big shots and they play through their mistakes.”Bryant has played differently in two games since returning from a left Achilles tendon injury that sidelined him for eight months. Bryant has morphed between becoming a ball-handling point guard and off-ball screen setter instead of his usual dominant scoring role. He’s averaged 14.5 points on 40-percent shooting, 3.5 assists and 5.5 turnovers through two games, a far cry from his career averages of 25.5 points on 45.4-percent shooting and 4.7 assists. “It’s been difficult for him to persevere through all the different stages of rehab that he’s gone through just so he can come back,” Fisher said. “Now that he’s back on the court, I think there’s a new beginning. This is the first step. I see a very strong trajectory going up in the near future.”What will that entail?“When the switch goes on, it will go on to the way people are accustomed toward seeing Kobe Bryant play,” Fisher said. “It’s just a matter of time before that happens.”For Fisher’s sake, hopefully not quickly enough for Bryant to lead the Lakers out of a 12th-place standing in the Western Conference and unexpectedly spoil the Thunder’s title aspirations. A sixth NBA title for Fisher would put him in a tie with Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Scottie Pippen and Bob Cousy. Do Bryant and Fisher engage in friendly banter over who will end his career with the most rings?“That never comes up. In some ways, I can’t even fathom winning championships and looking up and not seeing him right there,” said Fisher, who played with Bryant for 12½ seasons before being traded in 2012 to Houston in a salary dump. “It’s hard to even have that kind of conversation. But at the same time, we’ll feel very driven to try to be on a championship team again before our career is over.”That’s why Fisher said he hasn’t planned yet for post-retirement. “I’m not going to want to necessarily just sit around the house, but I’ll take a step back from the grind of the NBA schedule and see where my heart and passion takes me,” said Fisher, who believes he’ll have some broadcasting opportunities. “I want to take a step back right after retiring from playing and see through conversations, meetings and discussions what would fit the best.”After serving as the president of the National Basketball Players Association during the 145-day lockout in 2011, Fisher also expressed interest in possible leadership positions. But Fisher still has to deal with an early termination lawsuit from former NBA players’ union executive director Billy Hunter that accuses Bryant and his agent Rob Pelinka of acting on behalf of Fisher by urging Hunter to accept a 50-50 split in of basketball-related income. Both sides eventually agreed to a near 50-50 split, but Fisher has denied he secretly negotiated with owners. “I don’t really lose a lot of sleep over it,” Fisher said. “We have attorneys who are doing the heavy lifting. It’s in the hands of the lawyers and the legal system. Hopefully something will get figured out and clarified pretty soon.” Instead, Fisher pledges he will focus his last NBA season, fulfilling a job description that sounds very familiar to Laker fans. “I’m trying to continue building this team in terms of the relationships. I think they appreciate feedback better when they know you more,” Fisher said. “If I make some shots, that’s great. But I’m always going to do a lot of other things that don’t necessarily show up in the stat sheet that helps my team win.”Fisher did that plenty of times with the Lakers, including his game-winner with .04 seconds left in the Lakers’ Game 5 win over the San Antonio Spurs in the 2004 West semifinals and his endless clutch shots in the 2009 NBA Finals and 2010 NBA playoffs en route to two championships.But Fisher talked more on the Lakers’ 2000 NBA season that ended the franchise’s 13-year championship drought and the “luck” he had in staying healthy on talented teams than rehashing his memorable playoff moments.“The success of our teams helped feed my development,” Fisher said. “But if you have a passion or love for something that you do, you’re willing to persevere and endure and fight through adversity and still enjoy the process of what you do.”Soon enough, the Thunder’s plane departed. Fisher had to go to fill that role one last time.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

STUNNING BOOK ON 100 YEARS OF KILMACRENNAN SOCCER SET TO MAKE DEBUT

first_imgA book chronicling the history of soccer in the Kilmacrennan area over the last century will be launched on Friday next, August 31st, in the Anglers Haven at 8pm.‘Kilmacrennan FC – an illustrated history’ is a 344 page hard-back publication that has been compiled by Kilmacrennan Celtic FC’s Trevor Gorman and is the culmination of 18 months of research.Speaking about the book – it’s in full colour and contains 556 photos – Trevor explained that the club received 75 per cent funding from the Donegal Local Development Company for the project. “I got a great deal of help from a number of people – Tony Gorman, Hugo McDaid, Paddy McMenamin, James Doherty, Mairead Shields, Oran Doherty and Gavin Gorman all made vital contributions. 500 books have been printed and at this stage we are all looking forward to the launch,” Trevor commented.“The stories told in the book by the people of Kilmacrennan help recreate the special moments of a club which has some of the most devoted and proud people in football. Each section reflects the triumphs and disasters in the long history of football in our village. Some recall thumping victories, where individual players rose gloriously to the occasion and others remind us of the brittle fragility of junior football. Matches are memorable for goals, major incident, end to end free flowing football, or sometimes simply a special occasion like the 1953 youth cup final in Swilly Park,” he added.Describing the book a unique collection of memorable and evocative photographs, Trevor said its primary aim is to bring to life the memories of the history of one of Donegal’s most cherished football clubs.“Much has happened in the last century –  too much to record fully in the book. To give our story meaning we must seek out land marks, find moments to explain much in a short space of time. Players such as Murray, Strain, Burke and Grant, the famous 1996 Downtown cup final, the pursuit of our first Donegal Premier League title and the white hot excitement as the women toured the country in search of national cup silverware are all treasured memories of the ‘Kilmac’ faithful. ” Trevor continued: “The stories surrounding these games have been compiled through research from old newspapers, from talking to older supporters and former players and delving into the few other books written about the club and its history. It has been a privilege to bring together the special memories of a football club so rich in tradition.“In recent years I have my own recollections as a coach, a player and a supporter which go back to the early 90’s. However, organised football in Kilmacrennan dates back to 1922 when Johnnie Gorman, the great grandfather of the club we know today, and his original pioneers , organised a ‘footballers ball’ to fund the running of a cup competition in Kilmacrennan and also to enter a team to compete in other local summer cups at a time when there was no league football and cup was king.”He added: “I hope all Kilmac fans and football lovers in general will enjoy reading of the elation, despair, celebration and heartbreak in the fortunes of all our teams over the years, have a greater understanding of the history of this great club, and what makes it tick.”STUNNING BOOK ON 100 YEARS OF KILMACRENNAN SOCCER SET TO MAKE DEBUT was last modified: August 23rd, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:STUNNING BOOK ON 100 YEARS OF KILMACRENNAN SOCCER SET TO MAKE DEBUTlast_img read more