‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ is Coming to the United Parish Church of Brookline

By Beth Treffeisen

The Psych Drama Company, a new Boston-area theater group, will be putting on a new production of Edward Albee’s, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? This will be Boston’s first fully mounted production of the play after the recent demise of the show’s master playwright.

The play that will be directed by Edward Eaton and Brian Triber, will take place at the United Parish Church of Brookline at 210 Harvard St, which will run from December 3 to December 17. Tickets are on sale with general admission priced at $30.

The Psych Drama Company is a new Boston-area theater group that brings contemporary and traditional psychological insight to classic dramas by focusing on the elements of human nature that transcends time.

The show will go beyond the original approach, in which the audience not only becomes part of the action, but participants in the mind games that are played out through the alcohol-infused early morning hours one Sunday morning in the September of 1962.

“It kind of blurs the line between the characters and the dialogues and the psyche,” said Eaton.

It will showcase Owen Burke (playing Nick), a film and stage actor from Boston who studied at the Michael Chekhov Actors Studio; Wendy Lippe, the producing artistic director of the Psych Drama Company, will be playing Martha; Marshall Berenson, a Boston-based actor, who will be playing George; and Kelly Young, a Boston-based actress who was educated at Emerson College playing Honey.

“I would say this play from my character’s point of view, is about a younger couple who is new in town and they spend an evening with some people in their profession that they just met,” said Burke who will be playing Nick. “They learn a lot about these people, college, and themselves in a short period of time, in a fast pace maddening way.”

Young added that one of the more interesting things about this play is that there are a lot of parallels. She said there’s an older couple and a younger couple and as it becomes later the younger couple starts to identify more with what they are seeing in the older couple.

“As the night goes on everyone becomes more intoxicated and becomes more vulnerable,” said Young, which leads to both marriages falling apart.

After each performance, the audience is invited to stay behind and participate in a series of post-performance discussions led by local mental health professionals.

Lippe said these discussions are for everyone to be able to use literature and the play to reflect on themselves.

“We are trying to have people experience a more intense version of their theatre experience where they are stimulated and feeling a whole bunch of feelings that might be there but would be more distant if they where otherwise set back,” said Lippe.

The decision to have the play in the church comes after the recent closing of the Huntington Theatre, which added to the crunch for places for smaller theater companies to perform in Boston.

“I think it puts a lot of stress on small companies but I think it also puts some creativity into the mix because we sort of look for unusual spaces and how to work that into your craft,” said Lippe. “So in some ways it was a gift.”

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