Albee: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

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Cambridge University Press, Sep 21, 2000 - Drama - 204 pages
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This is a detailed study of one of the most important plays in contemporary theatre, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, by Edward Albee. In this fascinating look at the modern stage, Stephen Bottoms draws on original archival material and sources including an exclusive interview with Edward Albee. The Introduction considers the text of the play itself; part one provides a survey of the major productions from 1962 to 1999, with special attention paid to the premiere and the 1966 film version. Part two examines shifting critical responses to the play, demonstrating how changing times and attitudes have altered audience perception of performances. The third and final part offers a detailed examination of five different performances, comparing and contrasting directorial, design and acting approaches to demonstrate how our understanding of the play alters considerably according to its interpretation on stage.

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Fun and Games production strategies production problems
Walpurgisnacht the cauldron of criticism
The Exorcism getting the worst out of your performers
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Page 8 - I have tried, oh God I have tried; the one thing ... the one thing I've tried to carry pure and unscathed through the sewer of this marriage; through the sick nights, and the pathetic, stupid days, through the derision and the laughter . . . God, the laughter, through one failure after another, one failure compounding another failure, each attempt more sickening, more numbing than the one before; the one thing, the one person I have tried to protect, to raise above the mire of this vile, crushing...
Page 7 - Martha and me. (They sit.) So? (Pause) So ... you're in the math department, eh? NICK. No . . . uh, no. GEORGE. Martha said you were. I think that's what she said. (Not too friendly) What made you decide to be a teacher? NICK. Oh . . . well, the same things that ... uh ... motivated you, I imagine. GEORGE. What were they? NICK (formal). Pardon? GEORGE. I said, what were they? What were the things that motivated me?
Page 9 - In most modern instances, interpretation amounts to the philistine refusal to leave the work of art alone. Real art has the capacity to make us nervous. By reducing the work of art to its content and then interpreting that, one tames the work of art. Interpretation makes art manageable, conformable.

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