Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf lingers in many of our minds in the murky black and white images of the film with Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Sandy Dennis and George Segal. The Ivy Tech production directed by Patricia McKee brings a considerably broader color palette to the grueling play.
Small college history professor George, Bill Simmons, and his college president’s daughter wife Martha, Diane Kondrat drag themselves into their living room at two a.m. They’ve come from a fall party hosting new faculty. Martha and George are already going at one another’s failures and deficiencies when Martha announces that they’ll be having a couple of late night guests from among the new arrivals.
Nick, a new biology professor , Mathew Rowland and his wife Honey, Emily Mange arrive on the already combustible scene. During the next couple of hours histories and motivations will e explored. Family secrets will be shared. Verbal and physical abuse will be generously spread about. Martha and Nick will have an almost affair. The delicate Honey will enjoy a nap on the cool tiles of the off stage bathroom. George will depart and return with flowers.
Nick and Honey, a bit wiser or perhaps just a bit more cautious go home and an exhausted quiet descends on the stage. Martha sprawls on the couch as George goes through the motions of cleaning up the glasses. A teary eyed Martha prepares to fall asleep in George’s sheltering arms. We’re left to wonder if this sad moment of tenderness has been her conscious or unconscious goal the whole brutal evening.
Saturday night’s audience packed into the Waldron’s Rose Firebay at least in part for the Bloomington farewell of actor Diane Kondrat. We were rewarded with a steller performance from Kondrat and for area theatre veterans an expected solid pairing with veteran Bill Simmons. Surprises were wonderfully nuanced performances by visiting artist Mathew Rowland as Nick and by IU Senior Emily Mange.