The protagonist, a compelling woman more than 90 years old, reflects on her life with a mixture of shame, pleasure, regret, and satisfaction. She recalls the fun of her childhood and her early marriage, when she felt an overwhelming optimism. She also bitterly recalls negative events that caused her regret: her husband’s affairs and death, and the estrangement of her gay son. The woman’s relationship with her son is the clearest indication that Albee was working through some troubled memories of his own in Three Tall Women. Raised by conservative New England adoptive parents who disapproved of his being gay, he left home at 18, as does the son in this play. Albee admitted to The Economist that the play "was a kind of exorcism. And I didn’t end up any more fond of the woman after I finished it than when I started."