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Who’s Afraid of Virginia OOFe

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is a play by Edward Albee, first staged in 1962. It examines the complexities of the marriage of a middle-aged couple, Martha and George. Late one evening, after a university faculty party, they receive an unwitting younger couple, Nick and Honey, as guests and draw them into their bitter and frustrated relationship. [The play] won both the 1963 Tony Award for Best Play and the 1962–63 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play.

— Wikipedia


ACT ONE

GEORGE

Martha, my wife! Let us engage in dangerous emotional games!

MARTHA

George, an associate professor of history.

GEORGE

Martha, the daughter of the president of the college where I teach.

MARTHA

George.

GEORGE

Yes, Martha?

MARTHA

I have invited a young married couple, whom I met at the faculty party we have just returned from, for a drink.

A knock on the door.

GEORGE

Well, that must be them now. 

NICK

Hi, I’m Nick. A // biology professor –

MARTHA

This is Nick, he teaches math!

HONEY

And I’m his wife, Honey. 

GEORGE

Let us drink.

They all drink. Shuffling of glassware.

MARTHA

Say George?

GEORGE

Yes Martha?

MARTHA

Why don’t we engage in scathing verbal abuse of each other in front of Nick and Honey?

GEORGE

Splendid!

NICK & HONEY

We are embarrassed!

MARTHA

Well now you are enmeshed!

NICK & HONEY

We have to stay. 

MARTHA

George, I taunt you mercilessly!

GEORGE

And I will retaliate with my usual passive aggression. 

MARTHA

Nick, Honey, listen to this embarrassing story of how I humiliated George with a sucker punch in // front of my father –

George appears with a gun and fires at Martha, but an umbrella pops out.

MARTHA

What a scare, you appearing with a gun and firing at me, but an umbrella pops out instead!

Now, let me continue my taunts!

GEORGE

I am reacting violently!

He smashes a bottle.

NICK & HONEY

We are increasingly unsettled.

HONEY

I need to vomit because I’ve had too much to drink.

MARTHA

I will attend to her. 

ACT TWO

GEORGE

Hey Nick, let’s go outside and talk about our wives.

NICK

My wife had a hysterical pregnancy once.

GEORGE

Well this one time, I went to a gin mill with some boarding school classmates, one of whom had accidentally killed his mother by shooting her. We all laughed at him for ordering “bergin.”

NICK

Wow. Mmhm.

GEORGE

The next summer, that friend killed his father while driving, was committed to an asylum, and never spoke again. 

NICK

Let’s change the subject.

GEORGE

What to?

NICK

Let’s talk about having children?

GEORGE

That’s stupid.

NICK

You’re stupid!

GEORGE

Ugh. Let’s rejoin the women in the house.

MARTHA

Nick! Dance with me suggestively!

Did I ever tell you of George’s creative writing escapades?

He had tried to publish a novel about a boy who accidentally killed both of his parents, with the implication that the deaths were actually murder, but my father would not let it be published!

GEORGE

Why, you!!

George attacks Martha. Nick separates them.

NICK

Woah woah, this is going too far!

GEORGE

Sure. 

Tell you what, let’s play a new game! Get the Guests.

I’ll start by insulting and mocking Honey with an extemporaneous tale of “the Mousie” who “tooted brandy immodestly and spent half her time in the upchuck!”

HONEY

Hey, that extemporaneous story sounds like it’s about me and my hysterical pregnancy!!

How dare you imply that I trapped Nick into marrying me because of a false pregnancy!

I feel sick. I’m going to run to the bathroom again.

MARTHA

Hey George, you still here?

GEORGE

Mm.

MARTHA

Good.

Hey Nick, what would you do if I started to act seductively toward you in George’s presence?

NICK

Um.

GEORGE

Don’t mind me, I’m just pretending to react calmly, reading a book.

MARTHA

Let me show you the upstairs.

George throws his book against the door. 

GEORGE

Well that might have been uncouth. 

Now, I must come up with a plan to tell Martha that our son has died.

ACT THREE

MARTHA

HEY! OLLY OLLY OXENFREE! COME OUT!

NICK

Whew.

The doorbell rings.

MARTHA

Who could that be?

GEORGE

Flores para los muertos!

MARTHA

George, is the moon up or down?

GEORGE

Up!

MARTHA

I saw no moon from the bedroom.

GEORGE

Oh yeah? Well Nick’s disgusting.

MARTHA

What? He’s clearly pathetic.

GEORGE

He’s a narc!

MARTHA

A crook!

GEORGE

A stinker!

MARTHA

Too drunk to have sex with me upstairs!!

Beat.

GEORGE

Honey? Honey, would you come back here? It’s time for the final game, Bringing Up Baby.

MARTHA

We have a –

GEORGE

Keep quiet about that.

You’ve always had an overbearing attitude toward our son. 

Now, let us hear your recitation.

MARTHA & GEORGE

We will now describe, in a bizarre duet, our son’s upbringing. 

Our son was beautiful and talented, and George ruined his life.

George will now recite sections of the Libera Me part of the Requiem Mass, 

the Latin mass for the dead.

GEORGE

Martha. A messenger from Western Union arrived at the door earlier with a telegram saying that our son was “killed in the late afternoon…on a country road, with his learner’s permit in his pocket.” He “swerved, to avoid a porcupine.” 

NICK

Say, that description matches that of the boy in the gin mill story you told earlier.

MARTHA

You can’t do that!!

NICK & HONEY

It’s becoming clear to us that George and Martha’s son is a mutually agreed-upon fiction. The fictional son is the final “game” the two have been playing since discovering early in their marriage that they are infertile.

GEORGE

I decided to “kill” him because you broke the game’s single rule: never mention our son to others.

NICK & HONEY

We are overcome with horror and pity. 

We’re out of here.

MARTHA

George. We could…invent a new imaginary child?

GEORGE

I forbid it. It was time for the game to end.

Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolfe?

Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolfe?

Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolfe?

MARTHA

I am, George…I am.

END OF PLAY

By ICKipedia

ICKipedia Theatre is a theatre comedy podcast which engages with classic plays and their contemporary adaptations. By reducing revered works to their truest forms — the Wikipedia plot summary — we poke fun at, and poke holes in, the western canon.

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