Edward Albees Occupant
The play, Edward Albees Occupant, celebrates the mysterious force of will that allows great artists to be. The play reveals, with an achingly personal tone, the truly supernatural phenomenon, the uncanny and ultimately inexplicable self-determination that propelled the slow and unlikely ascent of Louise Nevelson (1899-1988) into the upper (and predominantly male) regions of the New York art world.
Set in an imagined dimension where Louise is being interviewed long after her death, the play salutes Albees good friend and, perhaps, expresses the playwrights personal concerns about his own legacy as a popular cultural figure. The play establishes in the first few lines that, no matter how dynamic in life, ones imprint on community and culture - ones place in history - is inevitably altered with the passage of time.
Using Louise Nevelson's personality and her artistic journey, Albee addresses both the unique challenges inherent in individual artistic expression and the universal human need for life review. We can relate both to the young museum docent, who is always trying to get the facts right, and to Louise's desire to have the subjective meaning of her life preserved.
While being interviewed by the young determined docent, the character, Louise, discovers that Louise, the historical figure, is subject to irritating definitions that she, the living person, had spent her life defying. The play is not merely an indulgent memory of a larger than life character. Albee, the artist, invites the audience into the harrowing moments and sweet epiphanies that comprised Ms. Nevelsons developing sense of the artist she would become.
The playwright generously holds back the curtain, allowing the audience to experience what it is for an artist to patiently, painfully allow the ineffable to emerge and take form and, finally, find meaning. He doesnt impose a meaning; he leaves it to us to form our own understanding of the artist and ultimately of ourselves as her audience. He reminds us that, no matter how famous one becomes, the process of self-fulfillment is a solo and, at times, a lonely journey.
The Actors Studio of Newburyport (View)
50 Water Street, Mill #1, Suite #5
Newburyport, MA 01950
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