Marital strife has never been so wickedly fun -- or dysfunctional. Following two sold-out and critically acclaimed productions, Theatre Exile ends their 18th season with Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at Plays and Players Theater (1714 Delancey Place). Pearce Bunting (Boardwalk Empire), Catharine Slusar, Emilie Krause and Jake Blouch take the stage in this cultural landmark that has been riveting audiences for over 50 years and ruthlessly tears down the façade of the American family. Previews begin on Thursday, April 16, 2015 and opening night is Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at 8:00pm. The show runs for a total of 32 performances through Sunday, May 17, 2015. Tickets are on sale now for $10.00 to $40.00 at www.theatreexile.org or by phone (215) 218-4022.
Pass the scotch. After a faculty get-together, a middle-aged couple invite their younger counterparts over for a night-cap that spirals into an evening of wicked psychological games. The once loving but now embittered George and Martha invent new ways to get under the other’s skin as they compete for the upper hand. As the drinks flow, unwitting young guests Nick and Honey are caught in the crosshairs of this marital warfare with no place to run. Humiliation, frustration and manipulation explode with every tip of the tongue as everyone’s true self is brought to the surface and a marriage is left in shambles.
“Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is an iconic work that defined the genre of the psychological drama that we explore and reveal on stage with every show,” said Exile Producing Artistic Director Deborah Block. “We’ll be pulling no punches as we explore the messy side of the human condition. There’s a reason we meet these characters at 2:00am, as the story illuminates the parts of one’s self that we keep in the dark and only bring out when our senses are dulled and we go into survival mode.”
Virginia Woolf was first presented by Theater 1963 (Richard Barr and Clinton Wilder), A.B.W. Productions, Inc., and Pisces Productions, Inc. on Broadway at the Billy Rose Theatre in New York City on October 13, 1962. It was directed by Alan Schneider. The show won five Tony Awards including Best Play, and the New York Drama Critic’s Circle award for Best Play.
The New York Daily News said, "Albee with surgical precision dissects the American psyche, academic life and the complexities of marriage (actually, two of them,) filled with betrayals, disappointments, illusions and love."
Exile’s production of Virginia Woolf is directed by Exile’s Founding Artistic Director Joe Canuso. Pearce Bunting (Boardwalk Empire on HBO, Law & Order SVU on NBC, Mamma Mia on Broadway) and Catharine Slusar (Lady M by Live Arts Festival, Wanamaker’s Pursuit by Arden Theater Co., A Dolls House by Lantern Theater) both return to Exile to play one of theater’s most notoriously dysfunctional couples George and Martha. The duo last were paired together in Exile for last season’s Barrymore Nominated production of Annapurna, where Canuso also directed. Emilie Krause (Two Gentlemen of Verona by Delaware Shakespeare Fest, My Romantic History by Inis Nua Theatre Company) and Jake Blouch (Unnecessary Farce by Act II Playhouse, Arthur and the Red Dragon by People’s Light and Theatre Co.) will play their younger counterparts Honey and Nick. The show’s Honorary Producer is the Wyncote Foundation.
The timeless backdrop for the show will be created by Meghan Jones (set designer), Thom Weaver (lighting designer) and Mark Valenzuela (sound designer) with costumes by Katherine Fritz (costume designer) and props by Alice Yorke (props designer). In order to replicate the intimate feel of Studio X, the first rows of Plays & Players will be removed so that the stage can be extended into the audience. “We wanted to create the intimacy of our own venue in this much larger space,” said Block.
Virginia Woolf will run April 16 through May 17, 2015 (opening night Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at 8:00pm). Tickets are $10.00 to $40.00 and are available online at theatreexile.org or by calling the Theatre Exile Box Office at (215) 218-4022. Performances for this production take place at Plays and Players Theater, 1714 Delancey Place. For more information about Theatre Exile, please follow on Twitter at @theatreexile, like on Facebook, call (215) 218-4022 and visit theatreexile.org.
Looking ahead, Exile will conclude the season with two special event benefits to support the theatre company’s work. On Monday, May 4, 2015, at 7:00pm, Exile presents a fundraising reading of the new play Tommy and Me by Ray Didinger at Plays and Players Theater. Ray Didinger, Emmy award winner, sports commentator and avid football fan recounts the seminal time in his life as he helps his life-long hero,Tommy McDonald, reach his goal of being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Directed by Joe Canuso. Tickets are $25.00 and include the reading and a post-show discussion. VIP tickets are available for $50.00 and including the reading, post-show discussion, exclusive open-bar reception and book signing with Didinger upstairs at Quigs. On Thursday, June 4, 2015, Theatre Exile presents their annual benefit Cabaret of the Exiled at the RUBA Club, featuring a roast of Tom McCarthy.
As a teaser for the 2015-2016 season, look for Exile to push the envelope and continue to explore taboo subjects with the world premiere of Rizzo by Bruce Graham. Rizzo will be directed by Joe Canuso and will star Scott Greer in the lead role. Previews start on October 15, opening night is on October 21, and the show closes on November 8, 2015. The full season will be announced in late spring/early summer.
ABOUT EDWARD ALBEE
Edward Albee was born on March 12, 1928, and began writing plays 30 years later. His plays include The Zoo Story (1958), The American Dream (1960), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1961-62, Tony Award), Tiny Alice (1964), A Delicate Balance (1966, Pulitzer Prize; 1996, Tony Award), All Over (1971), Seascape (1974, Pulitzer Prize), The Lady From Dubuque (1977-78), The Man Who Had Three Arms (1981),Finding The Sun (1982), Marriage Play (1986-87), Three Tall Women (1991, Pulitzer Prize), Fragments (1993), The Play About The Baby(1997), The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? (2000, 2002 Tony Award), Occupant (2001), Peter and Jerry: Act1, Homelife; Act 2, The Zoo Story(2004), and Me, Myself and I (2007). He is a member of the Dramatists Guild Council and President of The Edward F. Albee Foundation. Mr. Albee was awarded the Gold Medal in Drama from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1980, and in 1996 received the Kennedy Center Honors and the National Medal of Arts. In 2005 he was awarded the special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement.
ABOUT THEATRE EXILE
Founded in 1996 by Joe Canuso and Trish Kelly, Theatre Exile was created by a group of artists who wanted to rattle the gates of the mainstream. Drawn to plays that explore the complexities of the human condition and contain a sense of true Philadelphia grit and passion, Exile has produced 56 full-scale productions, including 14 world and 26 Philadelphia premieres. They were the first Philadelphia organization to produce such powerhouse playwrights as Pulitzer Prize and Tony winner Tracy Letts, Noah Haidle, Rona Munro, David Harrower, Annie Baker, Rajiv Joseph, Mike Bartlett, Sharr White and Lucas Hnath. For their excellence in producing theatre, they have received 59 Barrymore Award nominations, with nine awards total. Theatre Exile believes in freedom of expression formulated through innovation, exploration and provocation, all while providing a safe and creative environment, in which local artists can grow, experiment and ultimately, find their own voice.