“There was no meeting of minds there at all,” admitted Glenda Jackson about working with playwright Edward Albee on a 1989 Los Angeles production of Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” Jackson played the lead role of Martha in that show, but Albee, who also directed the production, called her performance “ice cold.” However, Jackson has just won her very first Tony Award for starring in another Albee play, “Three Tall Women.” She discussed her win and her relationship with Albee when she visited the Tonys press room following her victory for Best Actress in a Play. Watch the video above, and check out the complete list of Tony winners here.
Despite her past working relationship with Albee, Jackson “was totally unfamiliar” with “Three Tall Women,” “which is a shameful thing to have to say because it had been done twice in England.” When she read it the first time it felt to her like “essentially a radio play” given its limited physical action, “but then I read it again and realized just how complex and how interesting it is.”
Unfortunately, Albee isn’t around to see this production or Jackson’s performance as an elderly woman reflecting on her life and her estrangement from her son. Albee died in 2016 at age 88. But Jackson does wish she could know what Albee would have thought of this particular interpretation of his work. “In his script he gives very detailed instructions to the actors,” she explains. “I tried to cross them all out because I didn’t think they were very good, but I would like to ask him that question.”