Nick and Honey have recently moved to town and Nick has taken a job at the local University. After their first faculty party they get invited to the home of middle-aged couple Martha and George. What starts off as simply the most awkward evening imaginable, turns into an array of inter-personal battlegrounds. On one side there are young and naïve Nick and Honey and on the other, bitter and slightly crazy Martha and George. As the evening gets more and more absurd and the dialog more and more fast paced the battlefronts are redrawn and nothing is as it seemed in the beginning. As secrets are revealed, drinks are served (and sometimes thrown up again), shotguns are pointed and insults are thrown the play forces you to look behind a façade of social pretense and a dance of choreographed emotions.
While reading this disturbing story of an evening (and possibly more than one life) gone wrong I could not till the very end see what it was all about. Albee worked so well in creating characters that are so very different that they surprise you again and again. It is a play about manners, expectations and failed promises. But it is also extremely brave in the way in which it refuses to be conventional in any way. It also blurs the lines between what are real actions and what are simply performances but on due to social conventions. Considering the ending I would even go so far as to call it a play within a play. But what happens once they stop acting?
Who is Afraid of Virginia Woolf is therefore an extremely funny yet also extremely dark play that often times is bordering on satire:
“I cry allllll the time; but deep inside, so no one can see me. […] And Georgie cries all the time, too. […] we take our tears, and we put ’em in the icebox, in the goddamn ice trays […] and then we put them…in our…drinks.”