Archikulture Digest

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

By Edward Albee

Directed by J. Barry Lewis

Mad Cow Theater, Orlando FL</strong>

Trapped in small town academia and deprived of any chance of escape or growth, George (Stephan Jones) and Martha (Peg O’Keefe) battle away in a private fantasy land illuminated by the flame of grain alcohol. Less a marriage than a civil war in a Central African quagmire, they achieved detente years ago but tonight is special – fresh meat arrives via the new biology professor Nick (Timothy Williams) and his slim hipped wife Honey (Heather Leonardi.) He’s young and ambitious, she’s drunk and infertile, and they are the next generation of embittered educators hoping for tenure or at least leather elbow patches on their tweed coats. In act one, we laugh bitterly with their antics, in act two we plumb the depths of their desperation, and in act three we find out the bitter dirty truth – this is all any of them can ever hope for.

As blood spurts on the musty, frumpy living room (courtesy of Tom Mangieri and Sam Hazell) the audience cowers behind their programs and tiny plastic cups of wine. Only the expert stage fighting skills of Mr. Jones protects us, although some verbal splinters are still struck in my eyes. Jones and O’Keefe could be Ozzie and Harriet from Hell, and smug Tim Williams glories in his past conquests as boxer and football star while seriously considering boffing his hostess on the kitchen table. He and mousey Leonardi seem disgusted and embarrassed by their elders fighting skills, but if you peer behind their façade you see they are a young George and Martha in training. Bitter as the evening is, Nick knows he’s in a new arena, and by close observation of George’s maneuvering, he’s learning valuable life skills that will serve him and Honey in their bedroom before long. It’s like being mentored by Herman Goering while his wife learns to sauté fly agaric for dinner. This is a play for adults, preferably those hardened on the bitter dust bunnies of failed marriage. As Sartre posited, there’s No Exit.

For more information on Mad Cow, please visit http://www.madcowtheatre.com


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