|Carrie Coon, Tracey Letts, Amy Morton, and Madison Dirks|
in the current B'way revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Credit: Michael Brosliow
The really significant change comes earlier in the second act when Martha humiliates George in front of their guests by repeating her father's long-ago threat to fire George from the university if he publishes a potentially scandalous novel about a young man who accidentally kills his parents.In the original and the 1966 movie version with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Martha's coup de grace is to reveal that her husband told his father-in-law the novel is autobiographical, thus exposing the truth about a similar story George has earlier told Nick in private. In this new revival, Albee has rewritten this sequence to make Martha explicitly angry with George for caving in to her father and burning the manuscript. "Coward," she screams at her husband. This change makes Martha more conventionally sympathetic--she's not out to just embarrass George, she's furious that he's so weak-willed and furious with herself for loving him. I think this change weakens the play somewhat because I don't think Martha would be so self-aware at this point in the action. The war between George and Martha is at its midway point and Martha has not yet hit rock bottom in her self-realization (that comes in the third act). Now it's too early for that and the battle is less intense as a result. This is still a powerful production, but I prefer the original dialogue in this section.
|Al Pacino and Bobby Cannavale in Glengarry Glen Ross|
Credit: Scott Landis