Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe and At Home At the Zoo, are well-acted, provocative studies of marriage and the meaning of life. The two works by octogenarian American playwright, Edward Albee, are being performed side-by-side at Washington, D.C.’s Arena Stage.
Parallel structure allows these “simulcast” plays to resonate in a way that exceeds the sum of their parts. Virginia Wolfe utilizes the social visit of a new couple to peel back the pretense of a long-ago failed marital relationship; while the Zoo performs radical couples “therapy” through a husband’s second-act dialogue with a vagrant. There is such powerful acting in both productions that their messages have not grown dull over time.
Anyone interested in how complacency towards a relationship can breed contempt, anomie or destructive behavior should see these plays.