Who’s Afraid?

Anyone in the path of the tour of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? should go. It stars Kathleen Turner, who is predictably at home in the boozy, buxom Martha and Bill Irwin who is fluid and excellent as George. (Am I the only one who read the books about the hippos when I was a kid?) It is a rare opportunity to see Mr. Irwin, who trained, as I did, at the Circus Center in San Francisco. His rubbery and precise physicality serves George well. I saw this same production last year in New York with Nicole Kidman and it was exactly as painful as it should be and just a little more brilliant than that.

No, that’s not right. I didn’t see it “with Nicole Kidman” as in, “she was in the show.” I saw it “with Nicole Kidman” in that we went to see it together. I mean, I didn’t actually see it with Ms. Kidman per se. We were both there. We both stood in line for the bathroom. We sat a couple of rows away from each other, which I’ve done with people I do know, so it might have been like we were together. Except for her not knowing my name. And being there with other people. Except for that, we were there together. Just like me and Mats Wilander were dating when I was 11. Like that kind of “together.” You know what I mean.

Like a good New Yorker, I studiously avoided granting her any special attention, unlike the middle-aged woman from Omaha or Debuque or Tampa or who cares where because it was clearly Not New York in front of me, who chattered relentlessly at Ms. Kidman. I do not do this with celebrities. I feel that it would bring shame upon me and upon my family, although I’m unclear on what form that might take, since I do not usually offer both attention and my home address in the same breath.

For the record, I do not enjoy Ms. Kidman’s work. If you knew me, you would know this because I can’t stop myself from saying something cutting and personal every time she wafts onto a screen. I find her brittle. I also wish she would acknowledge the fact that she’s gay instead of continuing to marry men as if she weren’t. (I have third-hand confirmation on this, but I can’t tell you from who because I promised I wouldn’t, even though my source is notoriously indiscreet. And a psychiatrist, which, now that I’m thinking about it, is a little disturbing.)

On the other hand, I am in love with Edward Albee. In an unfortunate turn, I am taken and he is gay, but who’s counting? I have loved him since I read The Zoo Story when I was sixteen and seeing this production renews my love.

The tour will be in San Francisco for now and then move to Tucson in mid-May.


Categories: San Francisco (here), Watch This


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