San Francisco: The Arion Press, 2011. Tom Holland. The book is large octavo, 6-1/4 by 9-1/4 inches, 172 pages. The types are Monotype American Garamond and Univers, printed by letterpress on Revere, an Italian mould-made paper. The binding has a purple goatskin spine, with title stamped in silver foil, and lavender cloth over the boards, with an inset area on the front cover containing the Holland watercolor. The edition is limited to 300 numbered copies for sale, of which 50 copies are reserved for the Aurora Theatre Company, and 26 lettered copies for complimentary distribution. All copies are signed by the playwright. New. Item #CNAP092
"A Delicate Balance" is the newest work in the Arion Press drama series, honoring one of America’s great contemporary playwrights, Edward Albee. The edition features four illustrations by Tom Holland, an acclaimed artist and friend of the playwright.
A mature couple, Agnes and Tobias, he recently retired, lead upper-middle-class lives of quiet desperation. They reside in a Northeastern suburb where servants still cook dinner, the country club plays a major role, and living room bars are always well stocked. They have to deal with what appear to be four permanent, unwanted house guests. David Littlejohn, in his perceptive introduction, asks: "By what verbal and imaginative magic does Albee manage to transform stories as mean and vicious as these, relationships so full of contentiousness and spite, into profound and moving theatrical experiences? In his stage directions, Albee specifically calls Tobias’s long, near-hysterical, self-contradictory third-act outburst in front of Harry, his 'best friend' and life invader, an 'aria'. Throughout it, he provides dynamic and tonal advice, in the manner of a composer or conductor - phrases all in capital letters, semicolons and dashes, ellipsis dots, exclamation points and question marks (often together) - and stage directions that are the equivalent of a composer's marginal notations."
There are three illustrations in the book and one on the front cover. These are reproductions of watercolors, printed digitally and tipped into and onto the book. As Littlejohn writes in his introduction: "Drinking, as Tom Holland’s illustrations suggest, plays a large part in this play - almost as large a part as in Albee's Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? I count about twenty-three glasses of hard liquor onstage in 'A Delicate Balance' (plus Agnes's reference to good wine at dinner)." Tom Holland has made abstract images of bottles and glasses that appear at the beginnings of the three acts and an abstraction of a house for the cover. These cunning watercolors look like stained glass windows with sunlight shining through.
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