FREE TO YOU AND ME

Ed­ward Al­bee’s Who’s Afraid of Vir­ginia Woolf ?

Pasatiempo - - Free To You And Me - Michael Wade Simp­son For The New Mex­i­can

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?

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