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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

A race-conscious Australian reimagining of the celebrated play.
By Nik Addams
December 20, 2021
By Nik Addams
December 20, 2021

For the Sydney Festival 2022 lineup, this race-conscious Australian retelling of Edward Albee's classic play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is adding a fascinating chapter to the storied history of one of the most acclaimed theatrical works of the 20th century.

Based on the play that originally starred Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, the story takes place over the course of a single evening in the apartment of academic couple George and Martha who invite their new colleagues, Nick and Honey, over for a drink following a faculty party. What follows is essentially a booze-fuelled cage fight between the hosts.

For the Sydney Festival run, acclaimed First Nations director and actor Margaret Harvey takes the reins for a thoroughly contemporary reimagining of Virginia Woolf. The result is a uniquely Australian perspective that explores themes of identity, illusion and desire.

Key to this new voice is Harvey's considered stable of players. The production stars Wagadagam man Jimi Bani (Mabo) as George, Susan Prior (The Rover, Puberty Blues) as the powerhouse Martha, with Juanita Navas-Nguyen (Bluey's Big Play, A Doll's House) and Congolese-born Melbourne actor Rashidi Edward (Rabbit) rounding out the cast.

Image: Caitlyn Miles (CommonState)

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