November 27, 2012

I'm Afraid of Virginia Woolf

 Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" is back on Broadway. The current revival of Edward Albee's play about a couple's tumultuous relationship stars Tracy Letts as George, an associate history professor married to the college president's daughter Martha.  Amy Morton plays Martha, and they invite new professor Nick (Madison Dirks) and his wife Honey (Carrie Coon) to their home after a party.  As both couples get even more inebriated, the evening quickly degenerates into cruel verbal "games" that leave no one unscathed.
Mr. Letts and Ms. Morton deliver extraordinary performances as the couple who've settled into a  bizarre, tempestuous marriage.  Their biting barbs makes one wonder why they've stayed together.  While admiring the cleverness of the verbiage, I started to get uncomfortable with the abuse they kept hurling at each other.  Not knowing anything about the plot, the play's conclusion left me reeling and shaking my head in disbelief.  But mostly, I felt sad for George and Martha.
The play is directed by Pam MacKinnon, previously Tony-nominated for Clybourne Park (which won Best Play). There are some similarities in the themes of the two plays. Both are viciously funny, and exposes the ugliness, as well as the vulnerability, of people in relationships.
Mr. Dirks and Ms. Coon are also exceptional as the younger couple who get caught in the middle of the brutal games that their older counterparts play.  Eventually, we see that they're not above the savagery either.
The play ends its run on 24 February 2013.


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