In Albee's "The Sandbox," the scene is a bare stage on which the stage-center is "a large child's sandbox with a toy pail and shovel." a strong connection between the very old and infant, both are unable to care for themselves; both require an inordinate amount of patience from whoever is responsible.
• Obvious symbolic meaning is that the sandbox which is square and full of sand is made to keep in whoever is placed there much like a coffin.
• Using a toy shovel busily covering herself with sand, the grandma is symbolically digging her own grave.
• Grandma’s dilemma is prevalent throughout the US, the spiritual sterility of life in a highly materialized society in the second half of the twentieth century.
The basic themes are
a) human loneliness in a world without God,
b) the inability to communicate,
c) the dehumanization and impotence of individuals in a bourgeois society, and
d) the meaninglessness of life.
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 a lifeless 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, indicates the affected nature of Mommy's statement, and inherently, that of The Sand Box, as a whole.
Mommy is fifty-five, a well-dressed imposing woman. Daddy is sixty, a man of small stature with gray hair. Mommy is the natural born leader of the two. she is the decision maker of the family. Daddy never disagrees with Mommy. He does whatever she desires. She is the one who made the decision to put Grandma in the "sandbox" the remaining hours of her life. Mommy made this decision to remove some of the stress out of her own life.