Fiftieth Anniversary Production of 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf' Slated for UW-River Falls Stage

Oct. 4, 2012--The UW-River Falls University Theatre is slated to honor the fiftieth anniversary of Edward Albee classic drama “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.” The American classic is a hilariously haunting and provocative look at life and academia of the 1960’s. Performances are set for 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18-20 and 24-27 in the Sanford Syse Theatre of the Kleinpell Fine Arts building.

The original Broadway production, directed by Alan Schneider, opened 50 years ago, in October of 1962.  The play won the 1963 Tony Award for Best Play and the 1962-63 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play. The title, “Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf” is a pun referring to the song “Whose Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” from Walt Disney’s animated version of "The Three Little Pigs"(1933). The name Virginia Woolf, however, refers to an English novelist who was known for revealing the truth about human experiences. Her writing was highly complex, and there was a fear among intellectuals that they may not understand it.  Albee’s play, not unlike Woolf herself, exposes four characters during an evening of conversation, confrontation, and drinking. 

On an unsuspecting evening in a college town in New England, an unforgettable night of cocktails and crossfire is about to begin. George (associate professor of history) and Martha (his wife and daughter of the president of the college) invite Nick (the new biology professor) and Honey (his alcoholic wife) to their home for a night cap after a party. George and Martha proceed to launch a series of vicious and relentless verbal attacks on each other in front of the young couple. Though embarrassingly uncomfortable, they are intrigued and drawn to participate in this skillfully executed game.  Though George and Martha’s dysfunctional relationship is revealed, so too is their story of love and commitment.

The production uses an updated script from the 2005 Broadway revival production of the show.  According to James Zimmerman, director of the UWRF production, “the updated script remains truthful to Albee’s original, while allowing audiences to follow the true inner thoughts and motivations of George and Martha. The evening becomes less a story featuring ‘marriage as blood sport,’ and more an exploration of relationships.”

 Featured in the roles of George and Martha are UWRF seniors Daniel Vopava of New Brighton, Minn., and Dana Clausen of River Falls. Rounding out the cast are Robert Brecher (Nick) of Hudson and Sophie Sieh (Honey) of Hastings, Minn. Behind the scenes are James Zappa (stage manager) of Maplewood, Minn., Shane Donahue (sound designer) of Hudson, Steve Kath (scene designer); Lawrence Bennett (technical director/lighting designer); and Denise Baker (costume designer).      

Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors (60+), and $5 for UWRF students with ID. The production has an adult theme and coarse language. The show is slated for the intimate setting of the Syse Theatre on campus, seating only 80 patrons per evening. Patrons should plan to buy tickets early to avoid sell-outs.  The University Theatre Box Office in the Kleinpell Fine Arts building will be open for ticket sales Monday-Friday beginning Oct. 11 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and on the nights of the productions from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Tickets may be purchases in person, by calling the box office at 715-425-3114, or by mail. Additional information and a mail-in order form may be found online at


L to R: Sophie Sieh (Honey), Rob Brecher (Nick), Danny Vapava (George), and Dana Clausen (Martha) are featured in the UW-River Falls University Theatre production of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" playing Oct. 18-20 and 24-27 at 7:30 p.m. in the Sanford Syse Theatre of the Kleinpell Fine Arts building.


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