‘A Delicate Balance’ coming to the Santa Fe Playhouse - Albuquerque Journal

‘A Delicate Balance’ coming to the Santa Fe Playhouse

Brent Black as Harry, Leslie Fleming-Mitchell as Edna, L. Zane Jones (director) and Robin Elizabeth Jones as Claire in “A Delicate Balance.” (Courtesy of C. Stanley Photography)

We have all had someone overstay their welcome.

In Edward Albee’s “A Delicate Balance,” Tobias and Agnes are a middle-aged, upper-middle-class couple in the Midwest suffering from a passion-free marriage. Agnes blames her downward spiral into insanity on her alcoholic sister Claire, their permanent houseguest, while Tobias blames his on Agnes.

On the night in question, their daughter Julia makes a surprise appearance, as she is on the run from her fourth marriage. Accompanying Julia is Tobias and Agnes’ best friends, Harry and Edna who have left their home due to an unspecified fear.

During a long evening of drinking, tempers will flare and truths become revealed from the darkness.

The play opens at Santa Fe Playhouse at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 23, with additional performances until May 15, and is directed by L. Zane Jones.

“It was a play that I proposed to Robyn Rikoon, the artistic director a while back,” Jones said. “She and I met actually back before the pandemic happened, and then COVID-19 came about.”

After a brief hiatus, the wheels began turning again for the play.

“We talked about some other titles she was working for our season, and then kind of just before she announced, she circled back to all of them and I said, ‘I wanted to work with Edward Albee,’ ” Jones said. “We talked about Virginia Woolf and I feel in some ways that ‘A Delicate Balance’ as well is stronger in certain ways, and I think challenging in certain ways, which I am really happy about.”

Part of why Jones pitched this play was its representation of America at that particular time.

“I like Edward Albee in terms of his critique of the status quo, and in particular, the upper class white America especially in the 1960s,” Jones said. “I grew up in the ’60s, so I was a child of that environment and I think that kind of denial of our humanity that exists in our culture, can be pretty brutal, especially if you happen to be a gay man as Albee was.”

“I think ‘A Delicate Balance’ is a very sophisticated play dealing with those themes, a lot more sophisticated than Virginia Woolf in certain ways,” Jones said. “I think it is very poignant as we look at our culture and the problems of division and so forth, I think it’s a pertinent piece of art.”

Jones believes Albee’s writing style is similar to another accomplished playwright.

“Yeah, he is a wonderful writer, not unlike Tennessee Williams in that he is smart, well-read and well-educated,” Jones said. “Williams was a bit older, and I think, a bit more poetic and sentimental than perhaps I will be during the play.”

The audience should expect a top-notch performance.

“I think my hope is that the audience will enjoy seeing this play done now by a really top-notch team of artists, and that they will be challenged by the ideas and the play,” Jones said. “They might see themselves in some of the people in the play as I know I do.”

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