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Monday, June 6, 2011

Gay writer or writer who happens to be gay?

Playwright Edward Albee has won three Pulitzer Prizes, for Seascape, A Delicate Balance and  Three Tall Women.

First, turns out Edward Albee is still alive.  And, secondly, he's gay.  Maybe it's been a while since I've paid that much attention to this sort of thing, but both are completely true.  At least, that's what Albee says.

Below is a link to an article that was posted on NPR.  I recommend listening to the story.  One gets the better sense and tone that Albee is trying to convey.

Gay writer or writer who happens to be gay?

Before I really get into it, I wanted to mention that I think his mustache looks absolutely dapper.

First, I think that its a mistake to say that "gay plays are wrong" was what Albee was saying.  He wasn't saying anything negative about them.  If anything, he's saying that any time that you put a definition on anything, you're limiting it to just those things.  If something is "gay", it'll always be thought of in those terms.  It's College Philosophy 101.  Albee was making the point that you shouldn't pigeonhole yourself into writing only one different thing.  It's like putting shackles on your wrists and trying to write at the same time.  A limitation is a limitation.

But when Albee describes himself as a "writer who happens to be gay", he's talking about an aspect of his life that he himself says is irrelevant to his writing.  (Sidebar, his observation on Tennessee Williams is spot-on). This begs the question of why mention it at all?  I think that he's perfectly entitled to say that he's gay in any way, shape or form that he wants to say that he's gay. I thought that the wording on it was unique and alluding to hypocrisy.  However, he's careful about the way that he says this and manages to avoid it entirely.

Finally, the man is 83.  He's a legend in American Theatre, he can pretty much say whatever the hell he wants to whoever he wants to say it to.  He's at least earned that.

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