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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? [Mass Market Paperback]

Edward Albee
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 8.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

March 7 2006
“Twelve times a week,” answered Uta Hagen, when asked how often she’d like to play Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Like her, audiences and critics alike could not get enough of Edward Albee’s masterful play. A dark comedy, it portrays husband and wife George and Martha in a searing night of dangerous fun and games. By the evening’s end, a stunning, almost unbearable revelation provides a climax that has shocked audiences for years. With the play’s razor-sharp dialogue and the stripping away of social pretense, Newsweek rightly foresaw Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? as “a brilliantly original work of art—an excoriating theatrical experience, surging with shocks of recognition and dramatic fire [that] will be igniting Broadway for some time to come.” 

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“Albee can…be placed high among the important dramatists of the contemporary world theatre.”—New York Post “An irreplaceable experience…A crucial event in the birth of contemporary American theatre.”—Village Voice

About the Author

Edward Albee, the American dramatist, was born in 1928. He has written and directed some of the best plays in contemporary American theatre and three of his plays: A Delicate Balance, Seascape and Three Tall Women have received Pulitzer Prizes. His most famous play, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play. His other plays include The Zoo Story, The Death of Bessie Smith, The Sandbox, The American Dream, Tiny Alice, All Over, Listening, The Lady from Dubuque, The Man Who Had Three Arms, Finding the Sun, Fragments, Marriage Play and The Lorca Play.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witty, sassy, funny! Nov. 18 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Brilliantly vitriolic, witty, and sassy, this is one of the most engrossing and readable dramas you are likely to come across. At its most basic level, this play is so simple - just four characters, one room, and all the action taking place in the space of a few hours. But in terms of substance this is a powerfully rich and complex work of genius. The writing cuts like a sharp knife, the characters are exquisitely developed and original, and their chemistry is charged with an undeniable energy.
The characters are at odds with each other throughout the play, and yet it is difficult to takes sides with only one of them. They are all both likeable and dislikeable at the same time. George is a mean-spirited passive-aggressive with a huge chip on his shoulder, but it's impossible not to root for him as he joyfully attacks his wife, Martha, for her fondness of the bottle and various other sins. Nick's demeanor is just a tad holier-than-thou, but it is easily forgivable given the outrageous treatment he is forced to endure throughout the evening. Honey, his wife, is a ditz and a lush, but loveable in the same way as an Irish Setter. Any one of the four could easily carry the show, and together they create a powerful tension that keeps the play moving at a brisk pace.
It is easy to see why Albee's writing has earned him a Pulitzer Prize. What is surprising is that is was another, lesser-known play and not this one that he won it for.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars George and Martha...sad, sad, sad... Sept. 6 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This play is not for the faint of heart or for those who think it's about Virgina Woolf. I won't go into a summary of the play as many reviewers have already done. However, I will say this is definitely one of the best plays I have ever read (I read it cover to cover in under 2 hours). George and Martha remind me very much of my own parents with the exception of the drinking and the fact I'm not imaginary. It was a bit hurtful to read this play and find such a comparison to the people I love but it was refreshing. Below all the humilations and torture George and Martha place on each other through there 'games' they love each other and ultimately appear to have a healthier and happier marriage than the seemingly innocent Nick and Honey. This play is not a happy one so if your looking for a full of laughs play with happy go lucky ending look elsewhere. Who's Afriad of Virginia Woolf falls along the lines of O'Neil's Long Day's Journey Into Night or Miller's Death of a Salesman and All My Sons. Have tissues handy when you read it, see it performed live if you can, or watch the Taylor & Burton film. But above all see it LIVE!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Near Perfect Literary Execution Feb. 19 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Considered by some to be Albee's masterpiece, Virginia Woolf presents all of the playwright's main themes in this tightly compressed play. In a mere three acts, Albee breeches social as well as physical masochism at its most malevolent while displaying its truth-revealing effects while exposing its subconscious motivations. As for other Albee-eque motifs, there is his presentation of truth verses reality, linguistics aerobics, and, as par, a heavy dose of black humor. Albee remains faithful as a master of literature in that he never lapses into didacticism even when his characters voice personal soliloquies. As an aside, the play does differ from the famous film in that the former takes place within the confides of George and Martha's household, thus keeping their guests, Nick and Honey, as metaphorical prisoners throughout the night. Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of the play, upon a close reading, is Albee's almost virtuoso execution of symbolism, especially Christian (comparable to Henry James). Highly recommended.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
Wow. I never thought I could like a play so much. I had to read this for a class in college, so I admit that I didn't know what I was in for. I would've never thought that I would enjoy reading a play. This is a work of art with every line having meaning and significance.
A quick summary of the story without giving too much away: This is the story about an elderly couple who seem to hate each other with a passion. They're rude, loud, offensive, and insulting. When they invite a younger couple to their house, things quickly start to get out of control, while the elderly couple use their guests as sheilds and pawns in their brutal arguements and such. The story ends with a shocking resolution that will catch you off guard.
The dialogue in this play is so beautifully written. It reads like the way people actually talk. That is why I enjoyed it so much. It also enriched the characters that much more. Edward Albee did a magnificent job of weaving a tale that seems so realistic it's as if we are there at that house on that very night. There are no minor characters; everyone is important in a very significant way. It is refreshing to be able to get to know each character and the hopes, dreams, ambitions, and the conflicts that lie within.
I really enjoyed reading this wonderfully structured play. Much so that I have already read it at least seven times. It is a very easy read. And since it is mostly dialogue, it really doesn't take long to read. You could easily finish it in a day or two if you really put your heart to it. Even if you don't enjoy reading novels, maybe this is the solution. There is no lengthy descriptions of what color the characters' eyes are or what they're wearing. Just good old dialogue that will have you hooked from the very beginning. "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" is an outstanding play that will forever remain a true classic in American Literature.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read, not so great to watch
I really enjoyed reading the play, the character development, the natural language and conversation, the contrast between the two couples as if shifts from beginning to end. Read more
Published on Sept. 15 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars tense and shocking
I read this play so the movie (which I haven't seen)would make some sense. I started reading it and didn't realy get into it until after Nick and Honey arrive at Geoarge and... Read more
Published on March 27 2002 by Brendan M
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid seeing this play at all costs
I saw a production of this play recently and so vehemently hated it that I want to warn the world about how terrible it is. Read more
Published on March 4 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Some of the best dramas on man/woman misunderstanding
This is the stuff real drama is made:the human soul.And we see four torn, ravaged soul caught in a maelstrom of bitter emotions caused by frustration,unrequited love,anger and... Read more
Published on Jan. 12 2002 by Ventura Angelo
4.0 out of 5 stars "You're right at the meat of things, baby"
Edward Albee's play "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" is one of those plays that is also a great read as a book. Read more
Published on Sept. 25 2001 by Michael J. Mazza
4.0 out of 5 stars Communication Problem
Edward Albee truly explores and humiliates the human fallacy of communication and insecurity in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Read more
Published on May 13 2001 by Ronnie Khoury
5.0 out of 5 stars using x to show y
In his most famous play, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Edward Albee uses a seemingly non-violent and peaceful setting, coupled with sarcastic and very violent dialogue, along... Read more
Published on May 6 2001 by jordan gottlieb
5.0 out of 5 stars its hilarious
The play opens with a married couple, george and martha, who have just returned from a party at her fathers house, who happens to be the head of the college at which george is a... Read more
Published on May 6 2001 by jordan gottlieb
5.0 out of 5 stars Who's Afraid of George and Martha?
Brilliant.Simply smashing so. This well written play takes place in three acts.A drama really,but with riotous hints of wry black... Read more
Published on Sept. 5 2000 by Dave Nelson
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