Entertainment

B Street play dissects the complexities of marriage

By From page B2 | September 13, 2017

“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” examines the breakdown of the marriage of a middle-aged couple, Martha and George. Late one evening, after a university faculty party, they receive an unwitting younger couple, Nick and Honey, as guests and draw them into their bitter and frustrated relationship.

The play by Edward Albee is considered to be a contemporary American classic.

Opening on Broadway on Oct. 13, 1962, and starring Uta Hagen and Arthur Hill, the original productions received both critical acclaim and public scorn for its confrontational characters, bitter philosophy on love and realistic quality on an aging couple with a dark past. The play was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1963 and was made into a movie in 1966, starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, directed by Mike Nichols.

Since its legendary inaugural production, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” has been produced numerous times throughout the country and has been revived four times on Broadway: in 1976, 1996, 2005 (starring Kathleen Turner and Bill Irwin) and recently in 2012 (co-produced by Steppenwolf Theatre). Edward Albee died in September 2016 and a production of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” instantly followed in London in February 2017, receiving critical acclaim.

A year after the death of Albee, B Street Theatre presents his most celebrated work, starring two of its most celebrated company members, Kurt Johnson and Elisabeth Nunziato.

“There’s a valid argument that ‘Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?’ is the great American Play. Arthur Miller might have a few equally valid claims but Albee’s VW, though set in a specific time, is truly timeless,” said Dave Pierini, artistic producer of B Street. “The roles of George and Martha have become iconic and the twisted relationship that they reveal to Nick and Honey is the material of actors’ dreams. We have the best actors in the country working in our company and this show is every actor’s Mount Everest. It was time for us to climb that mountain.”

“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” runs Sept. 16 through Oct. 29 on the B Street Theatre Main Stage, 2711 B St. in Sacramento. For tickets and more information call (916) 443-5300 or visit bstreettheatre.org.

B Street Theatre

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