Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
By Edward Albee
Directed by Nicholas Murphy
Starring Frank Jakes and Angel Allen
Cornerstone Theatre Company
Presenting at the Orlando Shakespeare Center, Orlando FL

Scandal always sells, but “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf” is as responsible as anything for leading American entertainment in to the realm of professional presentations of your families’ dirty laundry. The Kardashians have little beyond liposuction to better the bitter battle between George (Jakes) and Martha (Allen). And Fox offers no better audience than Nick (Chaz Kriven) and Honey (Janea Riha) who are trapped in a post faculty party party in New Carthage, New England. Failure and alcohol perfume the air, and Martha’s open attempt at seduction of Nick is largely ignored, and for good reason – with a blood alcohol content north of 3.0, he’s lucky to be breathing, never mind screwing. Thing start bad and end worse, and the take away is no one here is any good at sex, marriage, work or ambition. But if they gave awards for raw alcohol consumption (who really needs ice?) these people would be a hat trick.

George takes a while to warm up in this performance: in act one he feels flat but by act two he’s flying. Martha is more constant and more bitter, she can turn the charm on and off like a light switch and when she launches a frontal assault on Nick, she’s amazingly sexy. Nick, on the other hand is mostly underplayed, he feels flat for most of show with only one or two bursts of energy until the seduction scene where he finally becomes involved in the story. He’s also the only one who really seems drunk; there is no slurred speech and nary has a stumble anywhere else on stage. Honey had the charming innocent of an alcoholic earning her first merit badges on “Hiding the Bottles” and “Not Getting Pregnant.” There were some odd lighting shifts than came out of nowhere, nothing drastic but the occasional fades were noticeable and occasionally actors missed their light. I’ll assign these to opening night gremlins and also mention this was a rare production of any play with a running clock on stage. What popped most off all are the literary references: The Punic Wars and the Green Eyes of Jealousy were prominent, and not soon to be forgotten. This is an American Classic, and like America it is brutal and self-centered with George and Martha fighting a war that can’t be won and would have no value if it was.

For more information on Cornerstone Theatre Company please visit http://www.cornerstonetheatrecompany.com/

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