The Illyria Theatre's production of Edward Albee's early play The Death of Bessie Smith, set to play La MaMa, Jan. 4-21, has been abruptly "postponed indefinitely." No explanation was given.
Bessie Smith was Albee's second play and the only work of his concerning a historical figure. It was first produced in 1959 and remounted by the author in 1968. The story, set mainly in a Southern hospital in 1937, concerns Blues singer Smith, who, reportedly, bled to death after a Memphis car accident because the city's white-only hospitals refused to admit her. Smith herself is never seen in the drama. Instead, the central figure is an embittered nurse.
Albee is the author of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (which will get a major revival at Minneapolis' Guthrie Theatre in early 2001), A Delicate Balance (recipient of a Broadway production several seasons back), Three Tall Women, The Lorca Play (planning a 2001 Off-Broadway production) and The Zoo Story.
Tickets are $15. La MaMa is located at 74A E. 4Th Street in Manhattan. Call (212) 475-7710.
— By Robert Simonson