I was expecting Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? to depress me. It didn’t. I was also expecting to be fidgeting in my seat long before the three hour+ play (two intermissions) was over. Instead, the time flew by. It was a pleasant surprise.
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is being performed at the B Street Theatre through October 29. It is the second to the last play to be performed at the B Street location before the big move early next year to the newly built theatre complex.
See related post: New B Street Theatre Building Update
The play was first staged in 1962, and it won the 1963 Tony Award for Best Play. The title of the play is a pun on the song “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was penned by Edward Albee, an American playwright. Albee was 88 when he died in September 2016.
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The play examines the breakdown of the marriage of a middle-aged couple, Martha and George. In the B Street production Martha is played by Elisabeth Nunziato and George is played by Kurt Johnson. Martha is the daughter of the college president, and George is an associate history professor who has failed to live up to Martha’s expectations.
After arriving home late after a faculty party, Martha reveals that she has invited a young couple over for a drink. In the B Street Theatre production Nick, a biology professor, is played by Jason Kuykendall and his wife Honey is played by Dana Brooke.
Both couples imbibe in excess, and it all goes downhill from there.
Why was I anticipating that Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was going to be depressing and that I would be fidgeting? I think it may be because I vaguely recall seeing the 1966 movie version of the play – same title. It starred Elizabeth Taylor as Martha and Richard Burton as George, with George Segal as Nick and Sandy Dennis as Honey.
Note: When I was researching who had played Nick and Honey in the movie – as I could not recall who had – I came across an interesting factoid. In 2013, the film was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry, Library of Congress, as it was found to be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
Why didn’t I find Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? both depressing and boring? All I can say is that, in addition to the exceptional performances by the cast, there is just something about live theatre performed in a small, intimate setting.
I had not planned to write a review of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? but at the end of the evening when I realized that the three hours had sped by I changed my mind. So, there you have it.
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Did you see Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at B Street? Any comments to add?