Monday, October 22, 2012

A Different Opinion on Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf

I was invited to the first preview of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, which shows the confidence the producers have in the production. It's a transfer of a Steppenwolf production, so it's not as if the cast hasn't performed it many times in front of an audience. And it got rave reviews there, so the producers probably weren't worried. The show opened to raves again here on Broadway, but as much as I overall enjoyed the production, I have some reservations about it.

I've given this a lot of thought and I think my slight disappointment has a lot to do with the fact that this was my first time seeing the play (I haven't seen the movie either). So I have nothing to compare this production to except my ideas about what a production of Woolf should be like. Quick refresher: the play takes place on a New England college campus. George (Tracy Letts, in a stunning Broadway debut), a history professor, and his wife Martha (Amy Morton), the college president's daughter, invite a young couple, Nick (Madison Dirks) and Honey (Carrie Coon), over after a party. It turns into a night of booze and insults. This production, directed by Pam MacKinnon, really played up the laughs. As a result, I didn't leave as emotionally drained as I was expecting to. I guess I kept expecting a punch to the gut that never came (I don't know if that says more about me than the production).

I definitely think this is a production worth seeing, but I wonder if I would have been able to get more out of it if I had seen a more traditional interpretation as my first time seeing it on stage.


Julie said...

It's so refreshing to find another who was disappointed in this production. Like you, I'd never seen the play performed on stage before, but I have seen the movie -- which I think would give you that punch-to-the-gut you were expecting. The film plays down the humor and ups the terror quotient, which I vastly prefer.

Linda said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one. I do plan on watching the movie soon.