Following a generation defined by television shows like "Leave it Beaver" and "Ozzie & Harriet," Edward Albee set out to break down American stereotypes with his 1962 play "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

This weekend, the classic play of human weakness will be presented at the Univer-sity's Arena Theater in the Fine Arts building by Thalian Blackfriars, the student drama production company.

"The play is sort of a mockery of the whole American dream," said Michael Stille, a senior who plays "Nick," a 30-year-old Midwesterner new to the Northeast. "(Albee) just tears down the stereotypes. He even brings into play the (Nazi) German's ideal man."

The play is a dark comedy that depicts one "hellish evening" between two married couples. The older couple is George (freshman Alston Brown) and Martha (sophomore Jamie Briggs), who play "mind games" with the younger couple Nick (Stille) and Honey (senior Liz McGeever), said Elizabeth Gathers, assistant director.

Who's afraid of

virginia woolf

When & Where: 8 tonight and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Arena Theatre in the Fine Arts Building

Tickets: $5

"('Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?') is an American classic," said Dan Guyton, MFA playwright and director of the show. "It's a very funny play, even though it's very dark."

Throughout the night, the characters fuel off each other, peeling away the phony fa?ades and revealing deeper secrets and raw truths. The characters also experience underlying theme of "sexual tension from the get-go," Stille said.

"Nick's a young professor who just moved from the Midwest. Martha is an attractive older woman," Stille said. "I guess you could say she wants to bed him."

The student cast has been working on the show for five weeks, just after casting before Spring Break. This is a much shorter process than traditional shows require, and the directors said they were very proud of the cast.

"George and Martha are considered to be two of the most difficult and strenuous roles in contemporary theater and Jamie and Alston have done a spectacular job tackling their roles," Gathers said. "The cast, as a whole, is very talented, and we are blessed to have them."

Gathers also said the original script is three-and-a-half hours long. However, due to time constraints, the script had to be cut to three hours for this weekend's performances.

"('Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?') is truly a remarkable piece," Stille said. "Edward Albee is a brilliant writer, and the play is very deep. There's a lot of symbolism and allusions to other stories and history."

"'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' will be presented at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday as well as a matinee performance at 2 p.m. Sunday. The shows will be held in the Arena Theater of the Fine Arts building. Tickets are $5 at the door, and seating is "very limited," Guyton said.

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