Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
By: Edward Albee
Distributed by: Sony Music
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I was first introduced to Edward Albee with The Zoo Story, a play given to me in high school. I remember we were all shocked by the ending of this play and the bits of social commentary contained within. When I first received Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? to review, I thought it was a musical. I soon learned that it was another play by Edward Albee, one with just as shocking a commentary as The Zoo Story.
In Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, we are introduced to Martha and George. Martha is the cynical daughter of the university president, the same university where George serves as a professor in the history department. The two share a rather special relationship filled with alcohol and insults amongst themselves, but things really get going when they have an audience.
Enter Nick and Honey - Nick's the latest addition to the biology department and his wife Honey is a frail, emotional being with a few skeletons in the closet. The two are seemingly happy until they become embroiled in their hosts' bitter, contentious and hurtful attitudes toward one another. The late hours and seemingly endless alcohol doesn't help things one bit and, as the play progresses, the attitudes and anger turns toward the guests in the house.
By the end of the play, you realize that much of Martha and George's story that has been presented to their guests is a farce, created to entertain the hosts and shock the guests. And yet, even the hosts seem less than entertained by the end.
The dialogue of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is full of fast-paced, biting wit that, in the beginning, is so shocking it's funny. But as the play moves forward, it becomes obvious that the two main characters, Martha and George, are alcoholics who have begun to loathe one another and only find some sort of happiness and dragging others down with them. Nick and Honey's spritely nature makes them even more enticing victims for Martha and George. It would seem that Martha and George will stop at nothing to prove that Nick and Honey share the same issues in their marriage as their hosts.
Quite honestly, listening to this play was rather intriguing. I wonder what it would be like to see the play in action. I imagine it would be every bit as shocking as listening to it. Though surprised to find myself listening to a play, rather than a musical, I did enjoy listening to Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and would recommend it to any diehard Albee fan.