Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf is defiantly my play - Audience member Letter

"Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf is defiantly my play. I borrowed a 4 LP box set of the original 1962 cast New York production from my brother Hugh and I still have not returned it. I must have listened to it about 300 or 400 times. I bought the script for it 50 years ago on the 6th October 1967. I have lived with that play as some sort of unintelligible backdrop to my emotional life and yet I have never had the opportunity to see a production. And I never saw the film. But I have constantly been drawn to it’s poetic nature, the rhythm of the text, even though the content is disturbing and savage. I have remained obsessed, mystified and delighted

I have never even read any critique or explanation about the play, its content and its inner themes. I have never before written about my connection to the play. I seldom speak about it to other people, even though remans  there in the background, like some older relative of my family who has influenced me in some way but we never meet up.

So I was excited and a bit apprehensive when I heard a production was coming to my home town. I think if it had been an amateur production I might not have gone. It might be too upsetting for me to see a production that wasn’t anything like the one that I have had in my head all these 50+ years. When I bought my ticket it was a reassured  to be told that they were performing an uncut version- I wanted to hear it all… I wanted to slog through the whole drunken evening.

And the joy was that the production and acting met practically every expectation for me. It was everything I was looking for. It was a faithful and unapologetic interpretation, with no compromises or attempts to update it. The set ‘set the scene’ well, clearly giving an impression of  that 1950’s living room of a house on a campus of a small New England college. It was cramped, given the size of the stage at the Eastgate, but the actors worked well with the challenge.

The interpretation of the play slotted beautifully into my inner vision of it. It was a joy to see George, Martha and Nick acting the play, for the most part, the way I had imagined them too.  Inevitably there were a few discrepancies from my inner version- some of them added to my enjoyment and occasionally I thought that they had missed a trick. Honey was not quite as I have imagined her to be and I was surprised and delighted that I found I actually preferred her interpretation to mine. It must be challenging to inhabit the role a miserable little simp for an entire play. But her interpretation added something fresh and new to my enjoyment.

It is nearly six months since I saw the production. If I had sat down immediately after it and written, then I would have had more specific recollections. But I do remember walking back from the theatre with the contented knowledge that I don’t need to see a production of it ever again." 

Julian Goodacre, Eastgate Theatre Customer

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