This play (made into a movie) with George the professor played by Richard Burton and Martha whose father is the University's President, along with Nick a young and new professor played by George Segal and his young wife Honey played by Sandy Dennis is a character study of a middle-aged couple with a long past of disappointments (stemming back to their childhood ... George accidentally killed his parents and Martha is over-shadowed by her father and has never learned to stand on her own two feet) and realizing each other's weakness'. They had one child that died and Martha was thrown further over the edge and blames her husband George. Along comes Nick a young and feisty naive new professor and his giggling, pathetic and innocent young wife Honey and are invited for dinner, but got more than they bargained for. George and Martha start playing games with each other and slowly draw in the young couple who don't know how to react to the situation until they all get drunk. Martha ends up flirting with Nick as George and Honey stand in the back-ground wondering how to deal with the situation. The sick games turn even sicker because of the rage from within Martha and George finally finds the guts to blow! The fight is on and Nick and Honey are left in awe wondering whether to stay or run. I believe that the term "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe" came from "Who is Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf." Martha intimidates people around her and tries to generate fear and demean everyone around her (self destruction.) She's in psychological pain and has become mean, spiteful and hates the fact she is getting older so takes it out on Nick and Honey. George has already been over the edge because of the accidental death he caused regarding his parents and living with Martha hasn't helped. This is an intense play and a long one, but it's wise to study each character as it's played out and the title fits the play very well. George and Martha are destroying each other basically, yet still in love. Some critics feel this play was thrown together and it was too long and too confusing for viewers, but I didn't find it that way and loved the character study of it. What was happening to George and Martha could happen to anyone but the environment is just different. Other critics thought the play was ingenious and I have to agree.
When I started to write the play it cropped up in my mind again. And of course, who's afraid of Virginia Woolf means who's afraid of the big bad wolf . . . who's afraid of living life without false illusions. And it did strike me as being a rather typical, university intellectual joke.- Edward Albee
The cast of The Stages of Edward Albee - 2012 includes: Edward Albee as himself John Guare as himself Rosemary Harris as herself Bill Irwin as himself Judith Ivey as herself Tony Kushner as himself Terrence McNally as himself Bill Pullman as himself Marian Seldes as herself Kathleen Turner as herself
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