The Sandbox

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The Sandbox

Post by Rachid Amri on Sat Mar 08, 2008 2:52 pm

The Sandbox is a one act play written by Edward Albee in 1959. The first performance of this play was April 15, 1960 in The Jazz Gallery in New York City.

The play is approximately 15 minutes long and touches on elements of the Alienation Effect by having the actors talk to the audience, acknowledge they are performers in a play, cue the musician, and deal with the sandbox as if it were the beach.

Contents
1 The Players
2 Plot
3 References
4 External links

The Players
Mommy: (55, a well-dressed, imposing woman) She is Grandma's daughter. After marrying Daddy, she brings her mother from the farm and into their big town house in the city. She gives her mom an army blanket, her own dish, and a nice place under the stove.
Daddy: (60, a small man; gray, thin) He is the rich man that Mommy married.
Grandma: (86, a tiny, wizened woman with bright eyes) She is the protagonist of the play. She married a farmer at the age of 17. Her husband died when she was 30, and she raised Mommy by herself from there on. Grandma is at conflict with her family, society, and death.
The Young Man: (25, a good-looking, well-built boy in a bathing suit) He is the Angel of Death, performing calisthenics that suggest the beating of wings. He is from Southern California, but hasn't been given a name yet.
The Musician: (no particular age, but young would be nice) He does not speak and must be directed to play or stop playing his music.

Plot
Beginning with brightest day, the Young Man is performing calisthenics (which he continues to do until the very end of the play) near a sandbox (or sandpit) at the beach. Mommy and Daddy have brought Grandma all the way out from the city and place her in the sandbox. As Mommy and Daddy wait nearby in some chairs, the Musician plays off and on according to what the other characters instruct him to do. Throughout the play, the Young Man is very pleasant, greeting the other characters with a smile as he says, "Hi!". As Mommy and Daddy cease to acknowledge Grandma while they wait, Grandma reverts from her childish behavior and begins to speak coherently to the audience. Grandma and the Young Man begin to converse with each other. Grandma feels comfortable talking with the Young Man as he treats her like a human being (whereas Mommy and Daddy imply through their actions and dialog that she is more of a chore that they must take care of). While still talking with the Young Man, she reminds someone off-stage that it should be nighttime by now. Once brightest day has become deepest night, Mommy and Daddy hear on-stage rumbling. Acknowledging that the sounds are literally coming from off-stage and not from thunder or breaking waves, Mommy knows that Grandma's death is here. As daylight resumes, Mommy briefly weeps by the sandbox before quickly exiting with Daddy. Although Grandma, who is lying down half buried in sand, has continued to mock the mourning of Mommy and Daddy, she soon realizes that she can no longer move. It is at this moment that the Young Man finally stops performing his calisthenics and approaches Grandma and the sandbox. As he directs her to be still, he reveals that he is the Angel of Death and says, "...I am come for you." Even though he says his line like a real amateur, Grandma compliments him and closes her eyes with a smile.

[b]

Rachid Amri
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Re: The Sandbox

Post by Iibtihel on Sat Mar 08, 2008 5:47 pm

Through his one-act play The Sandbox, Edward Albee has extended the allegory; his characters not only exist as symbols, but are more than vaguely aware of themselves as such. As caricatures rather than characters, they maintain a consciousness of their presence on stage as well as the stereotypical rules and emotions they are meant to display. Specifically through Mommy and Daddy's vacuous and immediate shifts to "appropriate" attitudes, Edward Albee issues his value statement. In effect, Shakespeare's assessment that "All the world's a stage,/And all men and women merely players" has been reanalyzed and extended by Albee, culminating in a work which declares the conventional conception of death as affected and contrived.

Almost deceiving in its straightforwardness is the opening note on Mommy and Daddy and the "pre-senility and vacuity of their characters." Daddy's ensuing questions as to what is to be done, and Mommy's resulting composed answers set in motion the implication of an end-of-life ritual whose spiritual meaning has long since passed away. At one point, Daddy asks Mommy if they should conduct a conversation. Mommy responds, "Well, you can talk, if you want to...if you can think of anything to say...if you can think of anything new." Daddy's rejoinder in the negative establishes early on that his and Mommy's existences, and therefore actions, are hackneyed, artificial, mundane, and devoid of any true, personal meaning.

By the air of preparation which pervades the play, and by Grandma's death in the end, a connection is made, and The Sand Box is duly noted as Albee's address on custom surrounding the coming of life's passing. The creation of an W W W W W W in which the actors are aware of their presence of stage breaks ground for Albee's take on society's engagement in role-playing. Requesting appropriate background music, and making remarks on lighting, Albee's characters cannot escape discredit regarding the genuine. Similarly, Albee greets the close advance of death with the suitable stereotypes of sudden darkness, violin playing, "a violent off-stage rumble," and Mommy's brief tears.

Inevitably, the sincerity of Mommy and Daddy has been cast in doubt and all subsequent words and actions bear resemblance to conventions. In a remarkable shift of attitude, Mommy declares to Daddy: "Our long night is over. We must put away our mourning..." They do so by gazing at an inanimate Grandma and casually observing how "It's hard to be sad... she looks... so happy." Mommy's hesitation, and Albee's exclusion of a stage note recommending a serenely content-in-death Grandma, indicate the affected nature of Mommy's statement, and inherently, that of The Sand Box, as a whole.
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Re: The Sandbox

Post by Iibtihel on Sat Mar 08, 2008 5:50 pm

The Sand Box

Canndice Green English 102 November 29, 1999 In reading Edward Albee's The Sandbox directly out of the text, it seemed to be a trite and dull play. I was left with feeling after I read the play in the book, that if anything this boring could get published so could I some time in the future. Yet, to see it performed live by my fellow classmates, it revealed much of the dynamics of that family. In being able to see it performed among my classmates; my actual opinion of the play did modify. I was able to be more open and understanding to the message and the actual motivation of the play. My original opinion of this play was that if was of a family that was too busy to care about the needs of the elderly grandmother. It had managed to rap itself so tightly in the daily bind not to care about any actual member of the family that could be sick or aging. A family that had established itself to a point that having to contend with the grandmother throws the entire situation off. In seeing the play performed live I grew to understand that my original assumption was precise yet, there was more going on than I read. It is a family that is dealing with having to cope with an elderly parent. The roles of parenting have changed the child has now become the parent. It about a family has to cope and re-adjust their lives to manage the new person. Also a problem with dealing with the elderly is dealing with the fact that they are closer to death. The realities that the Mom would be losing her own mother soon, which leaves some harsh feelings. Death is an actual theme that I could tell throughout the play. The play confronts being alive and how to behave with the awareness of death. It calls the reader and the people who will view the play live, not to live in fear of death that it is such a natural next step of life. It is has some streaks of optimism, because the play makes the assumption that it is possible to communicate with other people. That in the end the natural element that makes life a workable situation is to be able to talk to each other. The play is a good example of a family dealing with change and transition. It is a family that is adjusting to the change of a loved one. The play allows the reader from dark humored perspective understand the pain an anger of old aged. It would be the definition of the song the Little of Lady from Pasadena how as we get older we do slow down but grow. I found the play to be a good look at the current trends in society. That this society has a problem with how to treat the elderly, how to respect the wealth of knowledge that they have. This society has a function to serve the young and when the elderly hit a certain point they have used the potential and a discarded. The play reflects modern trends on the elderly and the perspective of how they are dealt with.
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Re: The Sandbox

Post by Iibtihel on Sat Mar 08, 2008 6:10 pm

The Sandbox's irony is that the children took in the wife's mother, and treated her worse than a dog. When the angel of death came, she was ready to go. Her children had money, yet they woud not use any of it on her. She has been long without her husband, but she would rather be alone then treated the way she is with her daughter and her husband. The mother does not like the way the daughter treats the husband either.
The Sandbox is a very simple play with a complex meaning behind it. It relates to the modern American family.
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