As Xenites we have a long tradition of supporting our cast through various projects. Theatre productions is one where we flock to and support in droves. Trust me many a Xenite has flown across a country or across the world to attend theatre shows with our Xena cast.
Now is the time to marshal the troops because we have another one of our cast, the incredibly gifted Alexandra Tydings in a new theatre show – to the Xenite Virgins ™ Alex played the mighty Aphrodite.
Alexandra has been cast as Agnes in a play called “A Delicate Balance” and the main female character of the play. The play was written by Edward Albee which premiered in 1966 and won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1967.
A Delicate Balance opens on June 1 through to June 23 at Silver Spring Stage in Maryland (USA). I recently had the opportunity ask Alex about her character and she said:
“Agnes a complicated woman who is trying very hard to maintain the balance of her family under the pressure of alcoholism, failed marriages, and existential dread.”
In this somewhat crazy world we live in, the play mirrors our society in 2018 as it did in 1966. Here’s some trivia which I wasn’t aware of. The role of Agnes was also played by one of my favourite actors, Katherine Hepburn. Katherine played the part of Agnes in the film which was released in 1973.
Want to know about Agnes? Check out the little research I did about the character!
Agnes is the main female character of the play. She is woman in her 50s, well off, and married to Tobias. She is also the mother of Julia and the sister of Claire. Agnes believes herself to be the fulcrum of the family, keeping everyone in balance. She often maintains this balance, or order, by not confronting issues, not taking a stand, and not processing emotions. She tries to keep the peace by not dealing with anything that might upset it.
On the surface, Agnes is completely supportive of her husband Tobias. She looks to him to confirm her thoughts, and likewise, she confirms his. It is not until near the end of the play that she brings up issues that show cracks in her relationship with her husband. When the memory of the death of her son is brought to the surface of her thoughts, she reminisces about how difficult a time that was for her, a time when she questioned everything, including her husband’s love and faithfulness to her.
Although she feels as if she is the fulcrum, Agnes begins and ends the play on her musings of insanity. She wonders if she could just suddenly slip off into madness and what that would be like. She wonders what her husband would do if that happened. Would she be an embarrassment to him? Embarrassment is a very large issue with Agnes. She is easily embarrassed by her sister Claire, who Agnes believes has wasted her life and her potential. When Claire insists that she is not an alcoholic, Agnes states sarcastically, “that’s very nice.” Then she lists times that Claire has vomited, fallen down, and called from the club to have someone come and get her. She concludes this commentary with the words: “If we change for the worse with drink, we are an alcoholic.”
Agnes’s relationship with her daughter Julia does not fare much better. Julia also embarrasses her mother. When Julia becomes hysterical, Tobias asks Agnes to go talk to their daughter. Agnes’s response is “I haven’t the time.” Instead of empathizing with Julia, Agnes becomes more self-absorbed. She tells her husband that she has suffered far more than her daughter. This same self-absorption is apparent in all of Agnes’s relationships. She easily becomes lost in self-pity and at the same time believes herself to be above everyone around her. If she is the fulcrum of the balance in the family, Albee portrays her as a very unstable one. Albee has admitted that the character of Agnes is based on his real-life adopted mother.
So what are you waiting for? Head on over and watch a great play with the extraordinary Alexandra Tydings