Edward Albee died yesterday, and of course though it is he who died, I am a playwright, and so it is a profound event that occurred mostly to me. But seriously though: like a lot of theater people, he is one of the very reasons I started writing plays. I discovered his plays in college, and they were messy and brave and passionate and weird, and they gave me permission to attempt to write the same. Below is my fb post documenting my one real life interaction with him. When someone dies and everyone posts about them, do the posts gain mass and form and create some sort of cloud you can see but can’t touch, and does the person then live on that cloud for eternity? If so, Albee’s is a MASSIVE MANSION CLOUD.
I would post my signed Edward Albee thing, but it went something like this: I was 20 I think, coming out of the Elephant Man, and saw him coming out of the Goat, Or Who is Sylvia, next door. I recognized him immediately, floated towards him, with my Elephant Man playbill in hand, and said, ‘You are my favorite playwright.’ He said thank you, thank you, started to take my playbill to sign — then saw what it was. ‘I didn’t write that. I’m not that playwright. You have no idea who I am.’ And he got into his car, off to the Tonys. I decided in that moment that playwrights are oftentimes invisible people sliding out the backstage door who deserve to be seen and known. RIP, brilliant man. May you be known and known and known.