HOUSTON (KTRK) --Celebrated Pulitzer Prize winner and former University of Houston professor Edward Albee's tour de force, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, returns to the Houston stage tonight after 13 years away. The 20th century classic shattered the societal precepts of its time to expose a melancholic reality that still resonates with audiences today.
Kim Tobin-Lehl and Philip Lehl, the husband-and-wife team behind Stark Naked Theatre, portray married couple George and Martha, a pair of rancorous whirling dervishes who invite an unwitting younger couple to their home after a night out for a series of manipulative mind games that they initially resist but then become players in. The pretenses that George and Martha have built up over the years are shed over the course of the night as the two couples explore the sobering and frozen depths of a marriage struggling to elude thwarted ambitions and unrealized expectations.
The Lehl's are joined onstage by Matt Hune and Teresa Zimmermann as Nick and Honey, the bright-eyed younger couple who have recently arrived in town and are coping with their own secrets surrounding their marriage as well.
The stage, designed by Tony Award nominee and University of Houston professor Kevin Rigdon, is compact and thoughtfully curated; while the play is set in the 1960's, the living room furniture is from decades earlier - a visual representation of George and Martha's incongruous 23 years of marriage.
The close quarters coupled with the guileful performances give off a gravity that pulls the intimately seated audience members even closer to the combustible co-dependence at the heart of the play.
The Stark Naked Theatre is a not-for-profit production company dedicated to supporting and cultivating the professional theater scene in Houston. They are able to achieve this through cooperation with state and local governments, private foundations, and the public. They have posted information on ways to contribute through their website.
Performances are scheduled for March 3-26 at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays. Pay what you can Monday March 21, 7:30 p.m. Spring Street Studios. Studio 101, 1824 Spring Street. For information, call 832-866-6514 or visit starknakedtheatre.com.