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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Albee / Ojasoo / Semper

Edward Albee’s play is one of the most beautiful love stories ever written. At the same time, the synopsis of the story is simple: an older man and an older woman are married. A younger man and a younger woman come to visit them. And…all hell breaks loose. Psychological fireworks go off, where weariness, boredom, hatred, disappointment and loneliness burn as bright flames, yet where loyalty, passion, faith and love emerge when the ashes are swept aside. This is a story where two people are too smart and too desperate to waste their time on social conventions and moral standards. This is a life and death struggle.

In the detailed analysis of human wishes, which Albee is a master of, the question, among others, of whether a person’s wish to be happy is enough to be able to live a happy life is asked. Can a person’s will overtrump his predestination as that of a biological creature? Which passions are base: those that burn, or those that fizzle out? If sincerity is more right than pretence, then why does it hurt more?

This classic play from the 1960’s avant-garde continues to attract attention to this day from the most varied angles. Some point out the social criticism of Albee’s text, where among others a view of the world that is too rational, various socially deceptive goods, and the possibility of a universal morality are criticised. Others see the aesthetic interweaving of the play, where actors are given the opportunity to study people and their own abilities as actors through the characters of George, Martha, Nick and Honey.

Incidentally, Edward Albee is asked in an interview from long ago: “How did you find the title for your play?” And Albee replies:

“There was a saloon that I used to frequent, and there was a large mirror on the ground floor of that saloon where people scrawled graffiti. Sometime in 1953 or 1954, I was having a beer there one evening and I saw how someone had scribbled on the mirror with a bar of soap: “Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf?” When I started writing the play, that came to mind. And of course, who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf means – who’s afraid of life without /.../”

Directors, Art Directors and Musical design Tiit Ojasoo and Ene-Liis Semper
New translation by Peeter Sauter

Hendrik Toompere, Jr. (as a guest from the Estonian Drama Theatre), Marika Vaarik, Sergo Vares, Mirtel Pohla

Opening night on 7 November 2009 at NO99 Theatre

International Participations

September 2010 | Draama 2010 (Tartu, Estonia)

Photos: Ene-Liis Semper