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Caro

Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf?

We are off to see this at the Crucible in Sheffield tomorrow night.  My husband, who likes light comedy, wasn't so enthusiastic, but I told him the programme called it "ferociously funny".  He wasn't completely taken in and said, "But?"  It did add emotionally raw.  

You have to go to serious stuff sometimes, don't you?
chris-l

It has been quite interesting over the last few days, in the course of obituaries for Elizabeth Taylor, to hear extracts from the film version being broadcast. I saw that many years ago, a year or so before I was married, and it did give me pause for thought about whether I was dong the right thing! It certainly isn't comfort viewing.
Mikeharvey

Hello Caro,
I hope you enjoy(ed) 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf' which is a classic of modern theatre.  It is a bit long though and can seem to drag in an indifferent production.  The production in Sheffield has Sian Thomas as Martha. She's one of those actresses who has spent a career giving great performances without becoming very famous. I last saw her as Lady Macbeth at Stratford opposite Greg Hicks' Macbeth.  And she was a superb Amanda in Noel Coward's 'Private Lives' at the Royal Exchange, Manchester.  
As for WAOVW I saw the original american production with Uta Hagen and Arthur Hill. Memorable.And I have seen it three or four times since.  Particularly with Kathleen Turner in the West End, and at Lancaster with Gloria Grahame.  
Did you know that the Walt Disney estate wouldn't allow the play to use the tune of 'Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf' so they had to use the tune of 'Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush'?
Edward Albee has never quite lived uo to the huge success of 'WAOVW' but his 'A Delicate Balance', 'Three Tall Women' and the recent and very startling 'The Goat' are all excellent.  

To refer to an earlier posting of yours.  Did you really pay 7.00 for two ice-creams.  My God! That's expensive even for London.  In the theatre here they charge 2.00.
Caro

Yes, 3.50 for one little pottle - only 130gms.  I don't know why my husband didn't just say "No thanks" but he said he was very hungry.  I don't even much like ice-cream so it was wasted on me.  I was thirsty though - I had tried to buy lemonade earlier in the theatre but the girl said I would be better to go down to the foyer and buy a bottle there which would be cheaper and able to be taken into the theatre.  I felt a bit annoyed at her not selling me one, wince there was a queue downstairs and we didn't get one, but if they were of similar prices, I would have been a bit horrified.

Will let you know about WAOVW tomorrow. Will I know a good production from a bad one?

Cheers, Caro.
Mikeharvey

You don't like ice-cream!?  I'm an ice-cream junkie.  Why do you think I love Italy and America?  
I've just started to think about Howard Johnson's Pineapple Crush Ice-cream Sundae with cream and a cherry on top. Mmmmnnn....
Sandraseahorse

I saw the film of WAOVW when I was quite young and found it hard going.  Years later I saw an AmDram revue on the theme of "Love and Marriage" and they did an extract from WAOVW and I was surprised by how funny it was.

Incidently, a friend years ago, who had been TV producer, told me that this play is so emotionally draining for actors that it is very rare to have a matinee and then an evening performance.  Is this so or is it a theatrical myth?
Caro

I think this was a very good production; it was split into three acts with two intervals and didn't drag at all.  Was a gruelling tiring night for the audience at least.  At the end I did wonder what sort of toll it would take on the actors' voices especially the one how plays Martha night after night with a harsh screechy tone and mad laughter.

When I talk of a good production, I really only notice the acting; I don't know if the props were satisfactory and meaningful or not.  I thought it was great.  Sian Thomas was excellent (I saw a little on youtube of Elizabeth Taylor in the part and they looked quite similar and sounded fairly alike too.)  The acting that particularly impressed me though was by Lorna Beckett,  playing the younger woman.  She tittered nervously and sat on the sofa for long periods where she had no speaking part but still continued to smirk or look slightly drunk without lolling everywhere, and had the sort of weak chinless  looks that go with the part.  

I came home wondering about the significance of the title, feeling the name Virginia Woolf couldn't have been picked at random, and not feeling the big bad wolf connection was quite enough.  I found this online though and thought it was a good explanation (though making me feel a little inadequate):   http://www.storyispromise.com/woolf.htm

It was a very well thought-out play in respect of its language and ideas, combining a good deal of humour with the harshness of the characters in their relationships, the fragility behind the existence of their precious son and the sterility of some aspects of modern life.  George's verbal cruelty masks or reveals the dullness and disappointments of his academic and personal life, and the younger couple are shown as shallow and not ideally suited.  (Though personally I don't see how anyone could feel other than embarrassment and shame in such company and felt for the younger man, played by John Hopkins who we recognised as one of Barnabys off-siders in Midsomer Murders (Scott) whch is just starting on telly now and I am off to watch.)

SPOILER:



The revelation that the son we hear of throughout the play has never existed came as a shock to me, though it was obvious throughout that there was something wrong - I thought maybe he had died young.  In the end George "kills" him off and the play ends with the couple comforting each other as best they can.

Caro.

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