NPR logo
Glenn Close Ends 20-Year Broadway Hiatus With 'A Delicate Balance'
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/370098747/370156370" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Glenn Close Ends 20-Year Broadway Hiatus With 'A Delicate Balance'

Theater

Glenn Close Ends 20-Year Broadway Hiatus With 'A Delicate Balance'

Glenn Close Ends 20-Year Broadway Hiatus With 'A Delicate Balance'
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/370098747/370156370" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Glenn Close stars as Agnes in Edward Albee's play A Delicate Balance. i

Glenn Close stars as Agnes in Edward Albee's play A Delicate Balance. Brigitte Lacombe/Philip Rinaldi Publicity hide caption

toggle caption Brigitte Lacombe/Philip Rinaldi Publicity
Glenn Close stars as Agnes in Edward Albee's play A Delicate Balance.

Glenn Close stars as Agnes in Edward Albee's play A Delicate Balance.

Brigitte Lacombe/Philip Rinaldi Publicity

In 1995, Glenn Close won her third Tony Award for her role the Broadway musical Sunset Boulevard. Now, after 20-year hiatus, Close is back on Broadway. She's starring alongside John Lithgow in A Delicate Balance, Edward Albee's 1966 Pulitzer Prize-winning play. The story follows Agnes (Close), a suburban matron striving to keep the peace in a household she her husband (Lithgow) share with her sister, who's an alcoholic; their daughter, who's a serial divorcee; and their best friends who have fled their own home in an inexplicable terror.

Close tells NPR's Robert Siegel about the timelessness of Albee's play and getting a nosebleed in the middle of a recent matinee.


Interview Highlights

On playing Agnes as a strong, reserved character rather than an insufferable, snarling one

I think Agnes is kind of the tricky character in the play. She's very much in the middle of everything trying to keep the balance, and she could be written as a control freak, [a] really unpleasant woman. And I've played so many strong, unpleasant women that I thought I didn't want to play her like that. I wanted to find some sort of humanity. And also, I know a lot of those women and they're very strong, you know, interesting women in their own right, and so I wanted to do them justice.

On whether A Delicate Balance is a '60s period piece

I think the only way that it is a period piece is maybe the mention of a topless bathing suit. And we actually got permission to cut one. ... At one point, I [Agnes] was criticizing Claire [Agnes' sister] for her emancipated womanhood. I said, "In this day and age, we just cannot say that." ... That would make it incredibly dated. But I think as far as the words that you hear all through the night — "terror" and "plague" and, you know, "decide" — they're timeless, I think. And certainly in our society today, we know more about plague and terror than we ever have, really. When you look at a play like this, post-9/11, I think it's actually rather extraordinary what Albee was writing about.

On her own experience of the '60s

I graduated from high school in '65, and for five years was on the road with a singing group — [a] rather right-wing singing group, unbeknownst to me ... that was an offshoot of a kind of a cult group, I would say, that I had been in since I was 7. So I had a very skewed view of the '60s.

On whether she plans to do more Broadway theater

I would like very much to not have another — well, I'd be dead — a 20-year hiatus between my next play. ... There's something so elemental about live theater. I mean yesterday in our matinee, I started having a nosebleed just before my entrance. And I thought, "Oh no, what am I gonna do?" And my entrance came and I went on and I had a whole thing of Kleenex. And I realized, you know, like five lines in that ... my nosebleed was not gonna stop, so I made the decision to go down to the footlights and say, "Ladies and gentlemen, I'm experiencing a nosebleed. I need to have a couple of minutes." And they just loved it! And John Lithgow went down and said, "Well maybe we can sing some Christmas carols."

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.