This is, quite simply, one of my all time favourite plays There is a film version, with Burton and Taylor as the two main characters, and while this isn t a bad version and it is in glorious black and white I think that film struggles with words and this is a wordy play And then there is that bizarre scene when they leave the house which makes no sense at allI first read this play in high school and had to do a reading of the play in front of the class Naturally, I was Nick, as the teacher was George There is a nice fact that Albee is supposed to have said he had no idea of the significance of calling his major characters George and Martha and definitely did not mean any reference to the first President of the United States and his missus I find this a little hard to believe either way, fate has stepped in and this fact remains, intentional or otherwise I ve always thought it adds something interesting to the play.This might as well be two plays On the surface there is a couple who look like they are about to tear each other apart This reads like a moments before the divorce play and you would be stretched to find a play in which there are deeper feelings of hostility or savage attacks between a married couple But this is only on a surface level The depth of affection and love between George and Martha is really the point of the play the games they play are quite literally played so as to keep each other sane And this is not the only contradiction between our initial impressions and reality Honey has there ever been a perfect name comes across at the start of the play as a mousey little moron of a wife, who puffs up with child to get her hands on a husband only to deflate again once the ring is on her finger To look at her you might think she was completely incapable of sustaining a pregnancy and that this is the point but actually, her life is spent having to drink brandy never mix, never worry to end a constant string of pregnancies This, of course, stands in stunning contrast to Martha, who comes across as the earth mother but in reality is incapable of having children.George comes across as a pathetic creature at the start of the play, unable to satisfy his wife who considers him so ineffectual that she doesn t even pretend to hide her flirtations with other men but by the end we realise that he has completely controlled all of the action in the entire play and everything that has happened has happened due to his choices and his decisions There are possibly few modern plays with a God like character More than this, everything that happens, happens due to his great love of Martha something that seems incomprehensible at the start of the play as they are tearing strips off each other.I went to see this play a year or so ago and was almost reduced to tears towards the end The older I get the I find that the sorts of things that are most likely to make me want to cry are not the sorts of things that might have had that affect on me when I was young Then I would have been just as likely to have become upset over unrequited love or such something I find a little dull now Today I find what is almost too painful to handle is love that is based on a deep acceptance of who we are if someone can love us for our scars, for ourselves warts and all I am almost invariably reduced to tears At the end of Therapy when the main character kisses the mastectomy scar of what had been his childhood sweetheart I was virtually a blubbering mess But of course, such love only exists in fiction and that is, perhaps, its main role.Fortunately, I m too much of a boy to be caught crying in theatres particularly over plays I know quite so well as I know this one I must have read it a dozen times over the years All the same, watching Gary McDonald recite the requiem mass at the end of the play as Martha realises that her son is truly dead and must remain so for them to continue to have any access to him at all was as close as I would like to be to tears in a grossly public place.This is a truly devastating play, a play that shines and shines, a work of sheer power and genius It is also one of the funniest plays I ve ever seen I don t think it is possible to love this play any than I do. A three act play about the illusions that sustain two couples, Who s Afraid of Virginia Woolf follows the aging George and Martha as they entertain and terrorize the recently married Nick and Honey one night after the end of a university faculty party The evening starts off on an unpleasant note in the former couple s home, and the situation only further deteriorates as the increasingly intoxicated small group stumbles toward dawn Albee s acerbic wit is at its strongest here, and in contrast to many of his plays, the plot rarely feels tedious or drawn out. I have to invent a new word after this play sadvicious As in, sad and vicious, ineluctably intertwined, till death do them part There s also the wicked humor of the play, for which I don t have a new word, a heartbreaking hilarity that keeps pace with the emotional maelstrom This is an absolutely brilliant work. Procreation is the basic essence of human life It is for this reason that all human go through all the crossings of life, in hope that when they are no longer in the world, somebody will be there to carry on their legacy forward But, what happens to a couple who does not have a child With what, the couple should hope, when the very essence of their being is refused to them It is this theme which the play Who s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by the American writer Edward Albee deals with.The play revolves around a childless couple Martha and Nick, who are of diametrically opposite nature Martha is aggressive, dominant and of bullying nature, while Nick is timid and passive They are a middle aged couple who do not have any child This creates an emptiness in their life, which they try to fill in by playing mind games They create a dream situation around themselves where they keep arguing about their non existent son Their prime target in this drama are their neighbours whom they try to fool by creating make believe situations about their son The crux of the play comes when Nick puts an end to all this by announcing the death of their son.The play is deeply psychological in nature The title of the play is symbolic It says who s afraid of Virginia Woolf Virginia Woolf was a writer whose writings were based on the Stream of Consciousness theme It is as if the characters were trying to say that they are not scared of the new stream of consciousness wave that had swept the society at that time.In all, Who s Afraid of Virginia Woolf is a compelling piece of literature. Twelve Times A Week, Answered Uta Hagen When Asked How Often She D Like To Play Martha In Who S Afraid Of Virginia Woolf In The Same Way, Audiences And Critics Alike Could Not Get Enough Of Edward Albee S Masterful Play A Dark Comedy, It Portrays Husband And Wife George And Martha In A Searing Night Of Dangerous Fun And Games By The Evening S End, A Stunning, Almost Unbearable Revelation Provides A Climax That Has Shocked Audiences For Years With The Play S Razor Sharp Dialogue And The Stripping Away Of Social Pretense, Newsweek Rightly Foresaw Who S Afraid Of Virginia Woolf As A Brilliantly Original Work Of Art An Excoriating Theatrical Experience, Surging With Shocks Of Recognition And Dramatic Fire That Will Be Igniting Broadway For Some Time To Come I don t often read plays but I absolutely loved Who s Afraid of Virginia Woolffor its cinematic, almost comedic style, it s colourful characters and its timelessness Definitely a classic that everyone should read. There s no limit to you, is thereEdward Albee, Who s Afraid of Virginia Woolf This review is not for Edward Albee s brilliant play, Who s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, but for the equally brilliant recording of the original cast with Uta Hagen I am a fan of the movie with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, but much of the humor is missing from the movie Here, in this recording, we can hear all of Albee s wonderfully dark humor In the words of Martha I thought it was a scream You laughed your head off Hagen s performance as Martha is legendary and still discussed with reverence to this day A recording of the play s original cast, featuring the great Uta Hagen and Arthur Hill, was re released in 2014 Taped in a studio just a few months into the run, its return offers a rare opportunity to pull back the curtain of time and experience, with a different kind of intimacy, on one of the major theatrical events of the 20th century.With its cast of just four characters, each with a distinctive voice, taking place in the course of one long, booze sodden night, in a single setting, the play has minimal action, and if you ve seen it onstage you ll be easily able to supply the visual punctuation marks for the few moments that lose something in translation to audio only format George s sudden brandishing of a fake gun, or his violent flinging of snapdragons at his wife as their boxing bout moves into the final rounds Albee s writing itself provides all you really need for the play s visceral intensity to hit home highly literate, stippled with corrosive wit and bristling with combativeness, it doesn t really require much in the way of staging to work its wounding magic All that s needed are four great actors, and the four who starred in the debut production give performances that, even some 50 years later, still feel fresh, fierce and definitive.No one will ever outshine Hagen s Martha.There s something particularly satisfying about hearing the performance You can appreciate the mighty range of Hagen s vocal resources and her unerring ability to wring every ounce of emotional truth from a line.Am I gushing Yes But rarely has an audio recording of a play moved and affected me like Who s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Holy smokes, this was hard to put down It s riveting, a little vile, and dramatic to say the least I m so excited to talk about it in class this week I ll probably come back and review it properly then Needless to say, this was excellent. This is, in my opinion, the best play ever written in the 20th century There s also a great story about how this was the first drama rejected by the Pulitzer Prize committee for obscenity you may have a hard time finding the obscenity in it, though, since it s from 1962 It s basically about two married couples who hang out in the wee hours of the morning following a party on a college campus in New England, but the interesting part is the way one couple tries to screw with the other s minds for their own personal enjoyment There s waaay to it than that, but I ll save it for my students Lots of symbolism, historical references and absurdist influences and a surprise ending By the way, like many plays, it s not the greatest read to really do it justice, you have to see it perfromed I recommend the 1966 film version directed by Mike Nichols, starring Liz Taylor and Richard Burton Maybe this shouldn t be on GoodReads I wish there was a site called GoodPlays or something. This play is so fucked I don t know whether it s genius or madness Probably both.
Edward Franklin Albee III was an American playwright known for works including Who s Afraid of Virginia Woolf , The Zoo Story, The Sandbox and The American Dream His works are considered well crafted and often unsympathetic examinations of the modern condition His early works reflected a mastery and Americanization of the Theatre of the Absurd that found its peak in works by European playwrights such as Jean Genet, Samue
- 272 pages
- Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
- Edward Albee
- 02 December 2019 Edward Albee