A small group of local actors will take the stage Thursday evening for the opening night of Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” Jenny Stevens is directing the production, which she said is likely one of the most challenging plays ever performed in Kodiak.
“I think people are excited to be able to do an iconic masterpiece like Edward Albee’s ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ It actually was performed 25 years ago by a different cast. So I think it’s exciting to be able to produce something that is that challenging and that exciting and as relevant today as it was 51 years ago.”
Stevens said the play has really pushed the acting chops of its cast. She said it is challenging because it is rich with mature content and deep ideas – meant to make its actors, directors and viewers think. She said it’s definitely not a play for folks to bring their kids to as it includes language and some sexuality.
The cast is comprised of Veronica Costa-Bolton, Mike Wall, Katie Oliver and Jared Griffin, who play two married couples. On its simplest level, Costa-Bolton said the play is an after party that the couples attend.
“And everyone is sort of loosened up a little bit, having been drinking for several hours before and therefore personalities and tendencies, inhibitions are relaxed a little bit. And so things that might otherwise be in the domain of discretion during the day time, get loosened up at night. And it’s part of the dichotomy that Albee puts throughout the whole play which is presentation versus reality.”
Griffin said the play has indeed been challenging and forced him to learn about himself as an actor.
“Many other plays and productions that go on – there’s a lot of characterization, caricatures – but this one is pure character. Like in the ancient Greek sense of the word. This is your essence. So you get to explore those parts of your essence that you have hidden away and locked in the closet and hope that nobody ever, ever sees. So this is your chance, or that’s how I see it, my chance to sort of exercise those shadows.”
Because of the complex subject matter of the play, Costa-Bolton said it’s really a unique opportunity for the Kodiak community to challenge themselves emotionally and intellectually just by watching.
“This is an opportunity for people in Kodiak to come in to stretch their mind to be able to connect to something that has run on broadway, that has run in major theaters and to see your friends and your family participate in this really brings the human side.”
Thursday isn’t a traditional opening night for productions in Kodiak, but “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” will indeed begin tomorrowat 7 p.m. in the drama pod. There will also be 7 p.m. show times on Friday and Saturday. Tickets cost $12 and are available at the door. Seating is limited so folks should plan on arriving early to get a spot.