Seattle Times critic Misha Berson just dropped her annual year-end list of the highlights (and lowlights) of 2014's Seattle-area theatre season. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Invisible Hand were both recognized as "Top Main Stage Plays," and the set for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was also singled out in the category of "Dazzling Designs."
Pamela Reed, R. Hamilton Wright (both from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) and Elijah Alexander (The Invisible Hand) were all award winners in the category of "Great Performances" and The Invisible Hand's Conor Toms was rightfully called the "hardest working guy in Seattle Theatre."
Congratulations to everyone recognized!
Read the whole Footlights Award list here.
Theatre Puget Sound's annual Gregory Awards nominations are being revealed throughout this week, and Seattle Rep's production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is up for an award in the Outstanding Scenic Design category! Read more here and follow along as nominations are made public daily on the Gregory Awards Facebook page.
From Brendan Kiley at The Stranger:
Matthew Smucker's set design is diabolically and deceptively tense. He's assembled a disheveled academic home circa 1960—books everywhere, African and Asian artifacts, abstract-expressionist paintings—but has built it so we're not looking toward the traditional flat wall, but sitting in one corner of the room looking into the V of the opposite corner. Like the play, the set seems sloppy and homey at first, before you realize it's coming right at your head.
Read more of the review here.
From Seattle Actor:
I’ve seen this show many times, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more expertly performed, masterfully directed production. Director Braden Abraham makes everything that happens on stage feel both inevitable and still surprising, a night that will change everyone’s view of life and living. The performances are awe-inspiring at the same time that they feel perfectly realistic and emotionally authentic. The scenic design by Matthew Smucker is beautifully and intricately detailed in precisely the same way that these lives will be revealed in all their individual specifics. Above all, the performances of these four actors are perfectly balanced, fully crafted, never predictable and deeply moving. This is not one of those shows where an audience can decide which one of these people we are most like; we are each and every one of them in ways that we can only define in our most intimate introspection.
From the Seattle Rep's Blog:
"Coming over to George and Martha’s house for an evening of fun and games? Here’s a glimpse into our scenic designer’s process of figuring out exactly how that iconic living room should look.
Matthew Smucker designed the set for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, his second Edward Albee show at the Rep. (His first was Three Tall Women in 2010.) When asked about what it’s like to design an Albee play, he said, “I find Albee’s writing to be utterly real and utterly absurd simultaneously. The best designs respond to this tension.”
One of the ways Matt captures this tension is in the almost over-the-top accumulation of stuff in George and Martha’s home. He describes the set below:
Nick and Honey are trapped in this room with George and Martha. The audience is too. Hell, George and Martha are even trapped in the room with George and Martha. We need to feel the baggage of their relationship, the weight of the history they have together.
The heavy box beams of the ceiling loom overhead, a bookcase stuffed to the gills with academia threatens to spill out onto the floor, the walls of the space are coated in a thick layer of nicotine. The furnishing are a mix of 1920’s through 1960’s era pieces, all contained in the shell of a late 19th century home. The visuals of the space play up the sense of accumulation and confinement."