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PACA Pours a Dark Glass of Albee

September 12th, 2018, 12:00 AM

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By Marnie Foss

This autumn the Performing Arts Collective Alliance (PACA) is bringing some of the finest examples of 20th century theater to Erie, and the upcoming Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is no exception. Director Mark Tanenbaum is on a roll, following up his production of Equus with this Edward Albee classic.

Written in 1962, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is as darkly funny today as it was then. Even if you've seen the play before, it never ceases to be a wonder of wordplay. If you are new to Albee's work, you can't help but be awed by the sharp dialogue and humor.

The play begins after a faculty party when Martha informs her husband, George, that she has invited Nick, an up-and-coming professor, and his wife, Honey, over for cocktails.

Drinks are consumed and George and Martha's banter becomes more personal and scathing, turning quite vicious at times as the evening progresses. Nick and his wife become entangled in the verbal games played out by their hosts. Every twist and jagged turn is followed by a sharper one. However, the drama is tempered by the comedy delivered through fast paced dialogue and great characters.

"It is amazingly well-written, family-friendly and perfect for school kids to see great literature come to life," said Tannenbaum. Having had the pleasure of discovering Albee in school, I am inclined to agree.

With a great and experienced cast, seasoned director, and wonderful sets, this should be as much a treat to those new to Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? as it will be to the well-versed. — Marnie Foss

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