Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
ADC Theatre, Cambridge, 19 September – 23 September 2023, 19:30 (14:00 Saturday matinee)
“Deliciously toxic, acidly funny”
“An intensity, a demoniac misery, a ferocious humour”
George and Martha: sad, sad, sad. Tensions are running high when an unsuspecting young couple are invited over to George and Martha’s for some late night drinks. The evening quickly degenerates into a sadistic series of verbal and emotional games, revelations and betrayals.
Edward Albee’s epic masterpiece is one of the greats of 20th century theatre.
Eleanor Thompson will be performing the Saturday matinee performance.
Lesley Ford Director
Sophie McMahon Intimacy Coordinator
Kerri John Production Stage Manager/DSM
Will Males Technical Director
Alex Hoppe Lighting Designer
Matt Stratford Sound
Tracy James Costume
Sophie Evans Props
Tim Evans Props
Mike Rudin Special effects
Ian Toombs Hair
Hannah Curtis Make Up Advisor
David Sear Publicity
Kate Molloy Design
Paul Ashley Photography
Emlyn John Videography
We are grateful for the support and advice of:
Dr. Sean Lang
Members of the Penguin Club
From the Director
For me, to write the usual Director’s programme piece about the play, its themes, the characters, the history would be tantamount to undertaking a very tiny dissertation. This play is already SO studied and commented on that I would find it nigh on impossible to say something that hasn’t already been said. Although many of the things that have been said are not necessarily what we have found in our forensic rehearsal process!
Any cursory Googling will tell you all you need to know and will tell you what every academic, student or theatre critic has to say.
- Albee saw “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” scrawled on a mirror in a Greenwich Village bar one night in 1954. When he started writing the play, he remembered it and said “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.”
- Around 1962, Albee wrote to Leonard, Virginia Woolf’s husband, and asked if it would be okay to use his late wife’s name in the title. Leonard gave his permission and when the play came to London, he went to see it with his friend Peggy Ashcroft. He later wrote to Albee, praising the play.
- In 1962 the committee selected the play for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama but the trustees of Columbia University, who oversee the prize, decided that the explicit language, interest in “taboo” subjects, and controversial public reception made it the wrong choice. The award was not given to any play that year as a result.
- George and Martha are named after George and Martha Washington. Thus, Albee makes his bickering couple representative of the U.S. as a whole. Their awful marriage paints a pretty grim picture of the country during the 1960s.
- In 1967 Albee established the Edward F. Albee Foundation with from royalties from the play. The foundation funds “The Barn”, a residency program who’s mission is “to serve writers and visual artists from all walks of life, by providing time and space in which to work.”
- Albee feels that a playwright should notate his writing with the same commanding precision as a composer notates his. The stage directions are many, precise, sometimes funny and occasionally to be ignored – at least by us.
- More controversially from our point of view, he does not consider directors and actors to be creative artists. Their role, in his view, is a strictly interpretive one: they are there to realise the vision of the playwright.
We hope we have realised his vision, but we also hope you like the liberties we have taken in being our kind of creative with this incredible play.
Fun and Games
Interval of 15 minutes
Comfort break of 5 minutes
Don’t Break the Heart That Loves You – Connie Francis
You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me – The Miracles
Stranger on the Shore – Acker Bilk
Symphony No. 7 in A Major Op 92 II Allegretto – Beethoven (Vienna Philharmonic)
It’s All in the Game – Tommy Edwards
Don’t Blame Me – Etta James
So Sad to Watch Good Love Go Bad – The Everly Brothers
I Can’t Stop Loving You – Ray Charles
This amateur production of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals Ltd. on behalf of Samuel French Ltd. www.concordtheatricals.co.uk
Thank you for coming to see our show - we hope you enjoy it.
Subscribe to the Corkscrew mailing list to hear about the latest shows.
England’s oldest University playhouse is administered and maintained by the University of Cambridge.
Chairman of the Executive Committee: Dr Mark Billinge
Theatre Manager: Luke Dell
Operations Manager: Olivia Wheeler
Production Manager: Gabrielle James
Technical Manager: Alex Bevan
Office Administrator: Anna Perry
Box Office Administrator: Grace Morris
Maintenance Technician: Darren Thomas-Carr
The ADC Theatre is a non-smoking venue.
Patrons are reminded that in accordance with Cambridgeshire County Council regulations, the consumption of drinks in glasses is not permitted in the auditorium. Audience members must comply with the ADC’s Code of Conduct, which can be found at adctheatre.com/conduct.
Tonight’s performance will include a 15-minute interval between Act I and Act II and a 5-minute comfort break between Act II and Act III.