Edward Albee is too good a playwright to be limited even by a theme of his own. The characters of "A Delicate Balance," which won the 1966 Pulitzer Prize for its statement of the decade's belief in "reaching out" as a solution to individual problems, are written and acted so fully, in the Arena Stage production directed by Zelda Fichandler, that one can find in it other possibilities and interpretations. The play opens in the conventional and ordered living room of an affluent retired couple, the woman speculating airily on the possibility of her someday losing her mind. Today, such a speech might alert the audience that she was coming down with Alzheimer's Disease, but in 1966, the disease afflicting stage characters was always alienation, never anything physical. She had, she mentions in passing, rather hoped to be alone with her husband at this time of life. But there is her alcoholic sister living with them, and their daughter, home from a fourth failed marriage, ready to recite once again her life's litany of complaints. And then suddenly, there on the doorstep, are Harry and Edna, friends of 40 years' standing, demanding asylum from an attack of non-specific psychological terror. The obviously intended point -- that these people are unable to connect with one another in a meaningful way, as we used to say -- is heavily underscored by the constant use of alcohol. They are all exercising their "right" to be succored in this home, and none of them is satisfied by what is being offered. Myra Carter, as Agnes, the mistress of this establishment, is extremely attractive. Beneath her conventional, quietly elegant exterior, she has a delightfully free mind, and she has unobtrusively kept this hearth, such as it is, alight. The others set their own emotional courses: the husband, played by Robert Prosky, able, finally, to do psychological duty, but long having preferred not to; Leslie Cass' drunken sister, with antics no doubt funnier on stage than in one's house; Halo Wines' devastating portrait of the egoistic daughter. Graciously as Agnes begins to approach the additional burden -- Mark Hammer and Barbara Lester demonstrate the weight of that burden of Harry and Edna's presence with incredibly effective restraint -- it is too much. When the play was written, this failure appeared a comment on one's obligations to others; now it is possible to see the play as being about the limitations of shifting individual responsibility, and to pick out as a heroine someone who has at least applied toleration and comfort to insatiable emotional demands. The author may not like such an interpretation, but it shows, after all, that he is a playwright and not a propagandist. A DELICATE BALANCE -- At the Arena through February 28.