Monday, May 19, 2014

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Walked by a random lamp-post and saw the poster. It wasn't the whisky glasses that attracted me. Neither was the fact that alcohol featured rather prominently in this play. :D Julie Furer Knutson designed that poster.

Really liked the poster. I like the play too. Secured tickets to a performance of 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' written by Edward Albee in 1962, currently staged by Seattle Repertory Theatre for the first time in their five decades of existence. This staging is directed by Braden Abraham.

Two short intermissions, three Acts and three hours later, we went away slightly amused and with loads of food for thought. Alcohol gets the short end of the stick for everything, for all the choices that humans make.  It wasn't that long ago childless heterosexual married couples (either by choice or God's will) were objects of pity, not unlike the climate now in some societies, and the sanctimonious rhetoric of 'human superiority of knowledge only if you're a parent'. Loads of brandy and gin that really shouldn't be blamed for human failings. Think current bloody annoying tv series 'Mad Men'.

I love how fast Act One: Fun and Games degenerates into mad character antics and misguided murderous intentions of Act Two: Walpurgisnacht and Act Three: The Exorcism. Hilarious. It takes a lot out of the actors to keep up that kind of negative energy. We know the storyline, and when we watch many versions of a play (one of the first being Broadway's 2005 production or the film version that had Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton), we're watching a theatre company's interpretation and  of course, for the acting. Obviously I'm not familiar with the actors, but Pamela Reed and R. Hamilton Wright were classically cool as Martha and George. Fantastic chemistry. Nick and Honey were played by Aaron Blakely and Amy Hill, who made audiences feel for them as a couple trapped in a perhaps loveless marriage.

I certainly don't know what kind of assumptions one might make of marriages, but everyone's marriage is different. What's a perfect family, really. Who's afraid of the big bad wolf? Don't forget its title and Virginia Woolf's style of narration and choice of themes. Stream of consciousness, the truth behind the facade, and how few of us would dare to live without building illusions.

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