A Delicate Balance – teeters on the verge of collapse

Delicate Balance (176x176)Yet another revival, A Delicate Balance, has opened on Broadway. This Pulitzer Prize winning play, written by Edward Albee in 1967, is well-written but hasn’t aged well.

Agnes, the “CEO” of the family is a career housewife and runs a tight household. She lives in a large, beautifully appointed home with her retired husband Tobias, their servants, and Agnes’s alcoholic sister Claire. Claire makes it her business to push her sister’s and brother-in-law’s buttons whenever she can. You can sense that there are family dramas and sadness that simmer just below the surface, but the three have achieved a “delicate balance”. That is until Julia (Agnes and Tobias’s daughter) comes home licking the wounds of a failed fourth marriage. Also thrown into the mix are Agnes and Tobias’s best friends who join them when they find themselves feeling an unexplained “terror” in their own house.  The equilibrium that had been achieved is thrown off kilter and everyone is forced to evaluate one another and themselves.

The play is wordy and requires nuanced performances so that no character ends up becoming a caricature. Unfortunately, this cast isn’t able to pull it off. The big draw to A Delicate Balance is the “big name” ensemble cast so tickets are hard to get and expensive – even on discount. We paid quite a bit to sit in the rear mezzanine. Keep in mind that if you do decide to see this play (which I don’t recommend) try to see it up close (or bring opera glasses or binoculars) so you can catch the subtle facial expressions which are important. And for the fun of it, keep track of how many times Glenn Close forgets her lines. LAR

The Golden Theater, 252 W. 45th Street

Ticket prices: $60-$155 (it seems that they may be holding seats to sell at a premium $185-$325)


Discounts available: $89-$109 at Theatermania. CODE: DBMANIA818

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes, including 2 intermissions

Runs thru: February 22, 2015


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