Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Love is a battlefield

Arthur Hill and Uta Hagen in the original 1962 production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf ? at the Billy Rose Theatre... The Gate Theatre in Dublin is currently staging a revival of Edward Albee’s masterpiece and with that in mind I re-read my copy of the play last night. No substitution of course for seeing the play in a theatre but Albee’s text remains as funny, provocative and disturbing as ever. I’ve read the play perhaps three times over the years (more times than I’ve seen the Mike Nichols film) and the final act revelation of the fantasy that George and Martha have constructed to prop up their burnt out relationship still feels unnerving with every read. Throughout the play I kept on thinking of Fassbinder's quote about marriage being the most insidious trap mankind has ever devised for itself, and while I don't agree in general, it certainly suits these poor fools. One powerful and unexpected side effect of reading the play last night was that I found myself being a little bit catty towards my wife afterwards, and I wonder did Albee delight in sending audiences home with all those long unspoken frustrations, disappointments and petty betrayals bubbling to the surface.

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