Playwright Edward Albee’s will: Destroy My Unfinished Work

When playwright Edward Albee died last September at the age of 88, he had one final request. He wanted his executors, Arnold Toren, and William Katz, to destroy any unfinished manuscripts. Both men are longtime friends of the playwright.

In his 2012 will, he requests that “If at the time of my death I shall leave any incomplete manuscripts I hereby direct my executors to destroy such incomplete manuscripts.”

The NY Times attempted to contact the two and through a spokesman they declined to answer any questions. But the said they do plan to comply with Albee’s wishes.

One of the draft manuscripts in play is Albee’s last known one, “Laying an Egg,” about a middle-aged woman struggling to become pregnant. The play was almost produced but he pulled it back saying he needed to fix it. But even if the executors manage to destroy all the known manuscripts there is the chance that other copies could remain.

The Times quotes president of the Edward Albee Society at the University of Missouri,  David A. Crespy, as saying

“Am I disappointed? Yes, because every tiny bit of everything that a writer has written provides insight into that writer’s creative process,” said . “But am I surprised? No. He maintained very strict control over the materials that were available to the public.”

Whether the manuscripts get destroyed or not is still a mystery but the executors have been busy carrying out other aspects of the playwright’s will. This fall, Sotheby’s will auction off more than 100 artworks collected by Albee to benefit his foundation.

To read more details see the NY Times article Edward Albee’s Final Wish: Destroy My Unfinished Work