VIRGINIA WOOLF HUMOR

jas1234
Understudy
joined:9/3/11
VIRGINIA WOOLF HUMOR
Posted: 1/11/13 at 11:09pm
Just saw Virginia Woolf and was mesmerized by the production. Great performances that light up Broadway. Wasn't going to go and then saw a television commercial that seemed to make it fun?...if that's the word. I was surprised at how scathingly funny it is-- and the time flew by. Probably laughed more than I have at any recent Broadway play. Will it still be playing at the end of the season and does it stand a chance to win any awards given the lack of "name" talents involved with the production?
PianoMann
Leading Actor
joined:5/12/11
VIRGINIA WOOLF HUMOR
Posted: 1/11/13 at 11:18pm
It really is a phenomenal production, and I agree that it is as funny as it is heartbreaking. I wouldn't go so far to say that there is a lack of "name" talents involved; yes, three of the four performers are making their Broadway debuts as actors, but Amy Morton is a well-respected actress and director, and Letts is a very admired Broadway playwright and has received many accolades for August: Osage County, including the Tony and Pulitzer. He's definitely the front-runner for Lead Actor Tony at this point in time. I have faith the production will receive the recognition it deserves, certainly with nominations.

Updated On: 1/11/13 at 11:18 PM
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
VIRGINIA WOOLF HUMOR
Posted: 1/12/13 at 04:16am
Edward Albee has long insisted that the play is a comedy and not the heavy drama that Alan Schneider (or Mike Nichols on the film) made of it. Albee himself directed it with any eye to proving his theory in a tour that starred John Lithgow and Glenda Jackson in the 1990s.

I haven't seen the current production, but it was clearly a comedy under Albee's direction. My personal feeling was that the playwright was trying too hard to make his point. As the OP rightly pointed out: the "comedy" is very dark.

Either way it's a great play and very nearly director-proof.

Updated On: 1/12/13 at 04:16 AM
Owen22
Broadway Star
joined:2/24/11
VIRGINIA WOOLF HUMOR
Posted: 1/12/13 at 10:39am
Yes, I've always thought of Woolf as a comedy. But that commercial? Have you seen it??? It makes it look like the wackiest episode of "I Love Lucy' ever. Its so odd, and really not the type of humor the play actually creates.

Updated On: 1/12/13 at 10:39 AM
RaisedOnMusicals
Broadway Star
joined:7/20/10
VIRGINIA WOOLF HUMOR
Posted: 1/12/13 at 10:56am
In terms of Tony awards, I'd say that Letts is a lock for Best Actor, and the play itself is probably the favorite to win Best Revival of a Play. Morton will be nominated as Best Actress, and I'd give her a chance to win, especially since she probably deserved a Tony for her brilliant performance in August:Osage County. And Pam MacKinnon should receive a direction nomination as well, though I don't know if she will or not. But this production is that good. And the two actors who play the supporting roles have a chance for a nomination as well.

I hope it can stay up through the Tonys.
<--------Curtain call, opening night of A Little Night Music, Dec. 13, 2009
Stage Door Sally
Broadway Star
joined:6/4/09
VIRGINIA WOOLF HUMOR
Posted: 1/12/13 at 11:41am
I agree jas, it is a scathingly funny play, which is why I think it has stood the test of time as an American classic. If it were just an evening with the Bickersons, who could sit through it?

I spoke at length with Maureen Anderman last year about Woolf while she was appearing in Richard III. She and Albee clicked professionally and she was his go-to girl for a number of shows until she semi-retired to raise a family with her husband Frank Converse.

Maureen appeared in the 1976 Broadway production of Woolf, directed by Albee and starring Colleen Dewhurst, Ben Gazzara, and Richard Kelton (who died much too soon from CO poisoning). I was surprised at how funny it was compared to the movie which seemed harsh and shrill. Maureen said that was intentional. Albee wanted to focus on the play's humor. He did not want it to be a slow, plodding drama. He wanted the audience to laugh and updated the script accordingly.

The current production is outstanding. The cast makes the humor flow as effortlessly as the booze. When Carrie Coon delivers the line, "He's not a floozie... he can't be a floozie... you're a floozie," it gets a laugh as loud as any comedy. Hope the whole cast gets Tony nods.



Updated On: 1/12/13 at 11:41 AM
macnyc
Broadway Legend
joined:7/26/08
VIRGINIA WOOLF HUMOR
Posted: 1/12/13 at 12:58pm
When I saw Woolf a month or two ago, it was my first exposure ever to the play. I hadn't even seen the movie. So when things struck me as funny, I was a bit embarrassed and afraid to laugh out loud. I had read all the comments on BW that the audience at another show, I think maybe Streetcar Named Desire, had been laughing inappropriately. I relaxed after I noticed that other people were also laughing, and I really enjoyed the show and the high level of the performances.
darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
VIRGINIA WOOLF HUMOR
Posted: 1/12/13 at 01:54pm
The difference, I think, is that Virginia Woolf is a very black comedy, and this is an era where very black comedy dominates in film and television.

Streetcar is a drama, a melodrama even, whose soap elements have developed a taste of camp over the years. Partially because I think Williams intended at least a BIT of camp, but partially because campy things have become much more like Streetcar in the intervening decades.
peerrjb
Featured Actor
joined:7/7/09
VIRGINIA WOOLF HUMOR
Posted: 1/12/13 at 02:42pm
"Virginia Woolf" DIRECTOR-PROOF?!?!?!?! Hahahahahahahahahahah.
The "proof" of that NOT being true was, in fact, the horribly misguided revival starring Ms. Jackson and Mr. Lithgow (in the late 80's). Lithgow was pretty excellent. Jackson was playing it as if she'd already been elected to Parliament. It believe it was Brian Kerwin as non-existent Nick; don't recall the Honey.

As for the original production being such heavy "Drahama"... Nope. T'wasn't. Hysterically funny on a level suited for the year of production. (That's why it was successful.)

Director-proof. hahahahahahahahah.
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
VIRGINIA WOOLF HUMOR
Posted: 1/12/13 at 07:12pm
peer, I think you could have just said you disagreed with me.

I was 8 when the play opened on Broadway and can only judge the Schneider production from the way it was referenced in the culture as a whole (and by the recording on vinyl, which I found a difficult way to experience a play). Nothing I've ever read spoke of the production as a comedy, but I'll take your word for how it was presented.

But God help me, I've had to sit through two productions by undergraduate students and was surprised that the play survived rather well.

Updated On: 1/12/13 at 07:12 PM