Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf – the text
Albee’s first job was writing continuity dialogue for a radio station. After leaving home to settle in Greenwich Village he held a variety of jobs – including three years as a Western Union messenger. The jobs supplemented a trust from his grandmother and were chosen because they were dead ends and would not interfere with his writing.
Truth versus illusion. Reality versus fantasy. These were Albee’s themes, questions which crop up again and again in modern drama and fiction. He has described his work as taking a stand against the fiction that everything in this slipping land of ours is peachy-keen.
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf is, simultaneously, an investigation into a marriage and a metaphor for contemporary America, or perhaps for the whole of modern western democracy.
I was in there having a beer one night, and I saw “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” scrawled in soap, I suppose, on this mirror. When I started to write the play it cropped up in my mind again. And of course, who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf means who’s afraid of the big bad wolf . . . who’s afraid of living life without false illusions. And it did strike me as being a rather typical, university intellectual joke. — Edward Albee
I’ve been reading the script because we’re going to see the production at Manchester’s Royal Exchange tomorrow, and I didn’t want to hit the theatre cold.
Go here to listen to Albee talking about the execution, at the age of 37, of Spain’s greatest poet and playwright.