Plays Directory : The Lady From Dubuque

The information below is intended to give you a brief guide to the show and highlight some of the other The Mandy Network members who have also been involved in this show.

  • Author
    Edward Albee
  • Written
    1980
  • Overview
    The play's first act finds three young couples (Sam + Jo hosting Fred + Carol and Lucinda + Edgar) engaging in party games like Twenty Questions. Jo's angry bitterness becomes apparent earlier than its source, which is the terminal disease that tortures her and will soon claim her life. At the end of the act, after the mounting tension drives the guests to leave, Sam carries Jo up to bed. Suddenly, a fourth couple appears from the wings: a glamorous older woman (Elizabeth) and her black companion (Oscar). She asks the audience, "Are we in time? Is this the place?" and answers her own questions: "Yes, we are in time. This is the place." The curtain falls.

    In Act One, the recurrent theme of the game was "Who are you?" Now that question becomes more serious, as Sam, shocked by the appearance of these strangers in his house, repeatedly demands that Elizabeth reveal her identity. She eventually insists that she is Jo's mother, come from Dubuque, Iowa "for her daughter's dying". However, Sam knows Jo's mother as a small, balding woman with pink hair, who lives in New Jersey and is estranged from Jo, and Elizabeth is clearly not she. Unfortunately for Sam, who vigorously protests the veracity of Elizabeth's claims, Jo runs into Elizabeth's arms and never questions her appearance or identity. Whoever she and Oscar may—or may not—be, they clearly represent the coming of Death, something familiar and unknown. At the end of the play, Oscar carries the dying Jo upstairs one last time. As the devastated Sam demands once more to learn Elizabeth's true identity, she ends the play with this line: "Why, I'm the lady from Dubuque. I thought you knew. [to the audience] I thought he knew."

    Elizabeth's curtain lines, quoted above, both typify the Pirandellian style of the play's dialogue, in which characters frequently make comments directly to the audience. (The first occurs very early, when Jo, observing the Twenty Questions game in progress, looks out at the audience and asks, "Don't you hate party games?")

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Connected mandy members:

Clare Gillman
2016, Jo
Ellen Hobson
Ellen Hobson
Actor
2016, Lucinda
Tim Larkfield
2016, Edgar
The Workhouse Theatre
Tyrone Sann
Tyrone Sann
Actor
2016, Oscar
The Poor School
John Jesper
John Jesper
Actor
2015, Sam
The Cockpit
Penelope Bosworth
2015, Freddie
Cock Pit Theatre
Carole Bremson
2010, Elizabeth
Lewes Little Theatre
Lynn Jeong
Lynn Jeong
Lighting Designer
2010, Theatre Lighting Designer
Roland Stimpson
2006, Fred
Tristan Bates Theatre
Robin Kirwan
Robin Kirwan
Actor
2005, Sam
Debbie White
Debbie White
Actor
2005, Jo
Tristan Bates Theatre
Valencia Harris
2005, Carol
Tristan Bates Theatre