Joel: Please introduce yourself and tell readers where they have seen you perform before on local stages.
Laurie: My name is Laurie T. Freed and I am the director of A Delicate Balance by Edward Albee. I most recently directed Arthur Miller’s play, All My Sons, for Peace Mountain Theatre Company. I hold a Master’s Degree in Theatre and a Master’s Degree in Drama Therapy. I have taught theatre acting, history, voice and body movement on all levels of academia. Working on both the West and East coasts, I have over 35 years of experience performing and directing for the stage in professional and regional theatres. I am currently the Artistic Director for Peace Mountain Theatre Company, of Potomac, Maryland, which has had three highly successful years of operation. With this production of A Delicate Balance, I will have directed 5 of Albee’s major plays, having directed A Delicate Balance 20 years ago in Southern California.
Joel: Why did you want to direct this show?
Laurie: Having directed five of his plays, I am a huge fan of Albee. When Albee came on the scene seven decades ago, his energy was palpable. There were few people writing for the theatre in such an aggressive, erudite manner. His dialogue reminds one of classical music. He even mentioned that his plays were “composed” rather than written. Never afraid to use biting dialogue to wake up his audience, all of his plays bring a dark humor and mystery to the characters that inhabit his stories. Albee is a challenge to direct because most actors cast in his plays have never had to work so hard. There seems to be subtext under subtext. But, the rehearsal process is stimulating and grand fun.
What themes in this show do you think will resonate with the audience?
As in all good plays, there are many intriguing themes in A Delicate Balance. One can never be sure what themes will interest an audience, but I do believe that the following recurring themes will hit their mark: aging; being afraid to take risks in one’s life, the inability to honestly communicate with family and friends and the loss of passion in one’s life.
With Edward Albee’s recent passing, how does it feel to be working on one of his masterpieces?
I am glad you asked this question. The theatre has lost one of its premiere playwrights. The confluence of his death this past September, on the 50th anniversary of the play’s premiere on Broadway, has affected all of us at Peace Mountain. Each one of us feels honored and privileged to bring the greater DC area one of Albee’s masterpieces. I was also encouraged by comments, spoken or emailed to me, by friends who spoke of Albee’s greatness. These thoughts came from people who are only involved in theatre as audience goers.
What do you think Edward Albee’s legacy should be? And how would you define an ‘Albee’ play?
An Albee play is a musical composition. It starts out gently and slowly, lulling the audience down a path which quickly and ferociously turns, and when it does so, you are on a roller coaster of cacophonous sound and anxiety. As the play crescendos, it will plunge back to whence it began. I know, this may sound a little off balance, but isn’t that what Albee is trying to do to us; set you off balance? Albee wanted people to take risks, to not settle. A Delicate Balance defines “an Albee Play” explicitly. Albees’ legacy began forming many years ago. He will be known as a master of dialogue, humor, and story-telling. He will be known as a playwright who set the theatre world upside down with his dark, mysterious characters and stories that challenged us not only to think but to reexamine our own lives and destinies.
What do you want audiences to take with them after seeing A Delicate Balance?
I want the audience to first and foremost be entertained. One of the ways they will be able to do so is with the many ways Albee brings humor to his plays. A Delicate Balance has many of these moments, but it is also a very serious play; a cautionary tale. And it is in that vein that I hope the audience will leave the theatre questioning the themes and discussing with fellow audience members the importance of the play as it relates to themselves and society at large.
A Delicate Balance plays from November 10-20, 2016 at Peace Mountain Theatre Company performing at Congregation Har Shalom – 11510 Falls Road, in Potomac, MD. For tickets, purchase them at the door or online.
Meet the Cast of Peace Mountain Theatre Company’s ‘A Delicate Balance’: Part 3: Leah Mazade.
Meet the Cast of Peace Mountain Theatre Company’s ‘A Delicate Balance’: Part 2: Louis Pangaro.
Meet the Cast of Peace Mountain Theatre Company’s ‘A Delicate Balance’: Part 1: Nancy Blum.
Bringing ‘A Delicate Balance’ to Potomac: Peace Mountain Theatre: Company will produce the Edward Albee play in November by Ashley Claire Simpson in The Potomac Almanac.