GODOT FOR GIRLS? THAT’S WHAT PAMELA RABE CALLS THREE TALL WOMEN, THE NEW PLAY BY EDWARD ALBEE.
Pamela Rabe’s performance in the new Australian film Vacant Possession caused excitement at the Sydney Film Festival, yet she insists she is addicted to the adrenalin of exercising her soul on the stage.
But after playing such powerful figures as Virginia Woolf and Strindberg’s Miss Julie, why is Rabe in raptures about playing a mysterious young woman simply named “C” in Three Tall Women, a new production by the Sydney Theatre Company?
“It’s an extraordinary piece,” says Rabe of Edward Albee’s Pulitzer prize-winning play. “Albee’s deliberately ambiguous about the characters, other than stating their ages. The moment you try to explain them or nail them down you ruin it.”
Rabe has dubbed the play ‘Waiting for Godot for girls”, and the parallels are clear. As the protagonist is a 92-year-old bedridden and dying woman, there is a minimum of high-kicks. It is a play of the mind with a built-in twist.
Rabe is quick to pluck out the thorn of sexual politics. “It’s not just about women. It’s a beautiful play about human beings.” she says. “Not a lot happens, but you learn a lot.” This is Rabe’s first professional crack at Albee, one of theatre’s most skilful and visceral phrasemakers.
“With most plays a certain amount of editing or pruning will go on, but he’s a master at naturalistic dialogue,” she says. “Phrases are repeated, some trail off. It’s never random or arbitrary, but a bugger to learn.”
Stage height … Pamela Rabe. | Photography by PAUL JONES
Rabe admits she finds the play a technical challenge, a theatrical relay event in which the almost musical exchange of verbal batons leaves no room for prima donnas. Read More