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If you like Edward Albee's story, you might also like:
Sally Field,
Athol Fugard,
Ernest J. Gaines,
Jeremy Irons,
James Earl Jones,
Trevor Nunn,
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and Wole Soyinka

Edward Albee can also be seen and heard in our Podcast Center

Related Links:
Albee Foundation
Kennedy Center
Albee on Broadway

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Edward Albee
Edward Albee
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Edward Albee Interview (page: 6 / 6)

Three Pulitzer Prizes for Drama

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  Edward Albee

When you started out, could you have imagined that you would have won three Pulitzer Prizes?

Edward Albee: Hmmph! It's not very many.

How important is that to you?

Edward Albee Interview Photo
Edward Albee: Look, if they're giving out awards, it's nice to get them. So every time I get one, I'm surprised. And every time I don't get one, I'm surprised. I live in a constant state of surprise!

How do you measure achievement? How do you measure success?

Edward Albee: I can't do it in my own work, because I can't look at my own work that way. If I read a book, go to a play, see a painting, or hear a piece of music that makes me expand the parameters of my response -- makes me think differently, makes me think more completely about something -- then I've had a useful experience. Otherwise, as I said, it's merely decorative and a waste of time.

Is there anything you haven't done that you would like to do?

Edward Albee: Parachute jumping! I'd like to do that, if I could be guaranteed that the damn thing would open and I wouldn't break both my legs when I landed. That would be fun to do. No, I would just like to keep on writing plays for awhile so that I can get better -- and more useful.

Do you think there's always room for improvement?

Edward Albee: Always. Sure. That's why I believe I'm getting -- right now, this weekend -- a thing called the Lifetime Achievement Award from Broadway, which strikes me as a little premature. I haven't done my lifetime work yet. But I suppose they have to give it to you too early if they're going to give it to you before you're dead.

What idea or problem or challenge most concerns you in America in the early 21st century?

Edward Albee: The dangers to democracy on the part of an electorate that I think is voting far too selfishly.

Most of our voting doesn't have anything to do with what is going to be most good for the most people. It's selfish and uninformed voting. I find that terribly dangerous. That can kill a democracy very, very quickly. I find that the inroads on civil liberties in our society are terribly dangerous. There's never been any danger from the far left to the United States. The death of democracy is fascism, and I see us moving closer and closer to that compliance all the time, and that worries me a lot.

Will you write about that?

Edward Albee: I think I always do, but I'm not going to write a didactic political play, because that's a rant, and there's no point in it. If I can just try to persuade people to stay awake, live life fully, don't sell out, don't compromise. Encourage people to do that, then there's hope.

If one of these young people came to you seeking advice, what would it be?

Edward Albee Interview Photo
Edward Albee: Try to get into your own mind a little bit. Figure out what it is you want to do with your life, what you really want to do, who you really are. Don't waste your life doing something that you're going to end up being bored with, or feel was futile or a waste of time. It's your life, live it as fully and as usefully as you possibly can. "Useful" being the most important thing there. Life must be lived usefully, not selfishly. And a usefully lived life is probably going to be, ultimately, more satisfying.

One last question: How would you like to be remembered?

Edward Albee: I would rather go on than be remembered.

Anything we didn't cover that you think is important to cover?

Edward Albee: Let's see, we didn't talk about the three most important things that playwrights like to talk about: sex, money and food.

Feel free.

Edward Albee: Now we don't have any time. What a pity!

Thank you very much.

You're welcome. Nice talking to you.

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This page last revised on Apr 11, 2008 15:25 EST
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