FREE TO YOU AND ME
Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf ?
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? opened in October 1962. Although the play takes place within the stately milieu of academic New England, the content and action of the play served as an electric shock to audiences and critics at the time. Edward Albee’s masterpiece debuted on Broadway to polarized opinions. “This is the way to dispel Broadway ennui,” wrote Howard Taubman in The
New York Times. “A sick play about sick people. ... We do not enjoy watching the wings being torn from human flies,” wrote Robert Coleman in The New York Daily Mirror. Mel Gussow wrote in Newsweek, “[A] brilliantly original work of art — an excoriating theatrical experience, surging with shocks of recognition and dramatic fire.” J.C. Trewin of The Illustrated London News wrote that it was “as cruel a play as I remember.”
The play won the Tony for Best Play and the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play in 1963. It was selected to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama until trustees on the award’s advisory board objected to the language and sexual themes of the play and decided not to award a prize in drama that year.
The movie version, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, came out in 1966 and burned itself into the memory of a whole generation of filmgoers. It is impossible to forget the over-thetop performance by Taylor and Burton’s seething intensity. Venom cocktails had never been served like this before.
In Santa Fe, a new generation of student theatergoers (and the public) will have the chance to experience this booze-fueled evening of psychological fun and games with Martha and George, the middle-aged college professor and his wife, who have invited a new faculty member and his wife over after a reception at the college. The production, opening Friday, Feb. 25, at the Santa Fe University of Art & Design, features two veteran New York stage actors — Joanne Camp and Victor Talmadge — and students Jonathan Barcellos and Anne Roser, who will be taking on the roles of the younger couple, Nick and Honey.
George: You can sit there with the gin running out of your mouth, and you can humiliate me, and you can tear me apart ... all night ... and that’s perfectly OK ... that’s all right ... Martha: You can stand it! George: I cannot stand it! Martha: You can stand it! You married me for it!
Talmadge moved to Santa Fe three years ago to take a job teaching acting and directing at the College of Santa Fe and chose the play with the director of the department, John Weckesser.
Victor Talmadge as George, Joanne Camp as Martha, and Jonathan Barcellos as Nick in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?