Theater: Blood Sport

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, by Edward Albee, is a blood sport as well as a play. The weapons are words—vicious, cruel, unspeakably humiliating, unpredictably hilarious—the language of personal annihilation. Jabbing, slashing, eviscerating each other are a middle-aged history professor and his wife. "It is called love-hatred," Strindberg once said, "and it hails from the pit." Sharing this diabolic conversation pit are a younger faculty couple who start as passively trapped bystanders and finish as guilty fellow victims. In the long and lacerating annals of family fights on stage, there has been...

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