WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?
“…all art is artifice; it is this artifice,
this metaphorical distancing which
gives art its reality, its power.”
—Edward Albee, Stretching My Mind:
The Collected Essays
I was sitting there in the Roxy Theater with a jam-packed audience of moviegoers who’d flocked to the theater to see the controversial new film “Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf” (1966).
There’s this scene in the film when Richard Burton and George Segal are in the back yard at night, taking a breather from the ongoing bitchy Martha Nightmare back inside—and Burton is telling this story to Segal.
At some point in this charming little somewhat boozy tête-à-tête, Miss Burton reaches out and touches the knee of Miss Segal who’s sitting drunk in the swing. It seemed to me a rather innocent gesture—so what?
But there was this uptight lady in the row behind me who suddenly gasped loudly so that everybody could distinctly hear her shocked reaction. She said: “Oh no!!! Not THAT!!!”
A hush grew over the Moviegoing audience—as everybody tensed in expectancy, expecting the very worse homosexual thing to happen. A blowjob?
A persuasive Proposition by Miss Burton, a perhaps terribly closeted professor of that esteemed high-ranking Ivy League College he was employed at? Surely nobody could blame him—not with such a vicious bitchy wife as Elizabeth Taylor the Witch!!!
I scooted down in my seat, expecting anything to happen at this point in this shocking str8t movie. This flamingly bizarre dark domestic heterosexual melodrama. I simply LOVED it…
Nothing happened, though.
It was all very so-so low-key man-to-man butchy male talk, but after the previous ongoing tres trashy bitch-fight between Miss Burton and Liz, well, the poor movie audience was ready for anything to fucking happen.
I noticed the lady in back of me didn’t grab her husband and storm out of the theater. They stayed and ogled at the simply marvelously revealing Edward Albee masterpiece—just like I did, honey.