Edward Albee grew up in a family deeply invested in projecting the perfect image of itself into social situations. . that Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?'s explicit language, interest in "taboo" subjects, and .. Download a PDF of the full interview. Praise. “Albee can be placed high among the important dramatists of the contemporary world theatre.”—New York Post. “An irreplaceable experience a. Edward Albee, the American dramatist, was born in He has written and directed some of the best plays in contemporary American theatre and three of his.
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1. Albee, Edward, – Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf? 2. Albee, Edward, –. Film and video adaptations. 3. Albee, Edward, – Dramatic production. Feb 15, PDF | This paper tries to provide a critical reading of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? the most controversial of Edward Albee's plays, especially with regard Desperate housewives in Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. Jan 18, Full Title: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Author: Edward Albee. Type of Work: Full Length Play (3 Acts => Act One: "Fun and Games" / Act Two.
George is an associate professor of history and Martha is the daughter of the president of the college where George teaches. After they return home from a faculty party, Martha reveals she has invited a young married couple, whom she met at the party, for a drink. The guests arrive — Nick, a biology professor who Martha thinks teaches math , and his wife, Honey.
As the four drink, Martha and George engage in scathing verbal abuse of each other in front of Nick and Honey. The younger couple is first embarrassed and later enmeshed. They stay. Martha taunts George aggressively, and he retaliates with his usual passive aggression. Martha tells an embarrassing story about how she humiliated him with a sucker punch in front of her father.
During the telling, George appears with a gun and fires at Martha, but an umbrella pops out.
After this scare, Martha's taunts continue, and George reacts violently by breaking a bottle. Nick and Honey become increasingly unsettled and, at the end of the act, Honey runs to the bathroom to vomit , because she had too much to drink. Act Two: "Walpurgisnacht"[ edit ] Traditionally, " Walpurgisnacht " is the name of an annual witches' meeting satiric in the context of the play. Nick and George are sitting outside.
As they talk about their wives, Nick says that his wife had a " hysterical pregnancy ". George tells Nick about a time that he went to a gin mill with some boarding school classmates, one of whom had accidentally killed his mother by shooting her. This friend was laughed at for ordering "bergin".
The following summer, the friend accidentally killed his father while driving, was committed to an asylum , and never spoke again. George and Nick discuss the possibility of having children and eventually argue and insult each other.
After they rejoin the women in the house, Martha and Nick dance suggestively. Martha also reveals the truth about George's creative writing escapades: he had tried to publish a novel about a boy who accidentally killed both of his parents with the implication that the deaths were actually murder , but Martha's father would not let it be published. George responds by attacking Martha, but Nick separates them. George suggests a new game called "Get the Guests". George insults and mocks Honey with an extemporaneous tale of "the Mousie" who "tooted brandy immodestly and spent half her time in the upchuck".
Honey realizes that the story is about her and her "hysterical pregnancy". The implication is that she trapped Nick into marrying her because of a false pregnancy. She feels sick and runs to the bathroom again. At the end of this scene, Martha starts to act seductively towards Nick in George's presence. George pretends to react calmly, reading a book. As Martha and Nick walk upstairs, George throws his book against the door.
In all productions until , Honey returns, wondering who rang the doorbell Martha and Nick had knocked into some bells. George comes up with a plan to tell Martha that their son has died, and the act ends with George eagerly preparing to tell her.
In what is labeled the "Definitive Edition" of the script, however, the second act ends before Honey arrives. In this act, it seems that Martha and George intend to remove the great desire they have always had for a child through continuing their story of their imagined son and his death. Martha appears alone in the living room, shouting at the others to come out from hiding.
Nick joins her. The doorbell rings: it is George, with a bunch of snapdragons in his hand, calling out, "Flores para los muertos" flowers for the dead , a reference to the play and movie A Streetcar Named Desire, also about a marriage and outside influences.
Martha and George argue about whether the moon is up or down: George insists it is up, while Martha says she saw no moon from the bedroom. Their guests, Nick and Honey, are young, idealistic, and pathetic in their own ignorance toward the "fun and games" that their drunken hosts have in store for them.
In the beginning, the name-calling and accusations between George and Martha could be mistaken as drunken, disaffected banter; however, they progressively draw in their guests to games of self-degradation and destruction with isolated bits of sexual innuendo and revelation of secrets.
The tension builds to increased animosity between George and Nick, heightened sexual tensions between Nick and Martha, and emotional isolation of Honey, a wan and pale character who gets dragged along by the others. In one scene, she is literally yanked up the stairs by Martha for an impromptu tour of the home.
Hollywood actors are carefully mapped into the characters translated for the big screen. From the start of the play, Martha and Nick are at odds with each other. This minor piece of dialogue reinforces the incredulity of the audience toward the glamorous acting couple seen three years earlier in the failed Fox epic Cleopatra , reduced to a bickering middle-aged couple. The play restricts action to the house; the film moves action outside first to an adjacent field, complete with a child's swing, and later to a roadside diner to remove the claustrophobic feeling of the one-room setting and let the audience "breathe" a bit.
The necessity of moving the story outside the living-room setting is open to debate, although commercial taste dictates that the film medium be fully exploited to improve upon the play in some way. The few shifts of the location occur when the older couple drive the young couple home and are urged to stop at a diner for dancing by the increasingly delirious Honey at the same point where the dancing would occur in the living-room setting in the play.
Obviously, the camera can be used to show viewpoints of characters that we can't easily see in a stage production. In an early scene, Martha and Nick are shown in a foreground conversation she rubs his leg suggestively , with George and Honey brooding in the background on opposite sides of the room: An alternating degree camera viewpoint shifts the audience's attention between the two divided couples.
As expected in film, the camera transports the audience into the house and shifts between conversing characters, making full use of the space in the house. High and low camera shots show, at any particular moment, which character has the upper hand. In the diner, for instance, Martha and Nick taunt George and are viewed from a low, slightly skewed angle; toward the end of the film, when George destroys a myth about a son that he and his wife never had, and Martha collapses to the floor in mournful, regretful supplication to her husband, praying that he won't destroy this intimate, sacred illusion in front of the guests.
In both the play and the film, Martha and George are outwardly rational figures with a troubled and compulsive bent toward emotional sadism. However, George is the outwardly reticent professor who slowly, demonically shows his true colors in a series of "games," and the camera follows George periodically to show his moral deterioration.
The first major shock is when George retrieves a toy rifle that sprouts an umbrella, sneaks up behind his unsuspecting guests, aims and shoots at Martha's head. This sequence results from George's disgust at Martha's glee in recounting how she knocked him down once into some bushes, catching him off-guard with a well-timed punch.
This story is as much a metaphor for his emasculation in marriage as it is a blow to his long-suffering ego.
The camera tracks slowly backward to show him walking down the hall to a utility closet to retrieve the gun while Martha's voice becomes more muffled and dreamlike.