21 Jul 2018

Mini Reviews - Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Hold Your Own

Title: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Author: Edward Albee


When middle-aged Martha and her husband George are joined by the younger Nick and Honey for late-night drinks after a party, the stage is set for a night of drunken recriminations and revelations. Battle-lines are drawn as Martha and George drag their guests into their own private hell of a marriage.

My Thoughts:

I wanted to like this play so much but I had an eww feeling about it. The main couple, Martha and George live in a dangerous, abusive relationship (I'm talking about mostly verbal abuse but it is suggested in one of the scenes that George may kill Martha someday). One night after a party they invite a young couple to their home, Nick and Honey, who are basically forced to glimpse into the dark well that is George and Martha's marriage.

All the characters are drunk during the happenings and they keep playing games that reveal personal information about both couples. The games are childish, just like the choice of words often are in this drama, but both the games and the words point towards the secret that is unveiled at the end of the play. It's supposed to be a twist but if you pay attention, you can guess it way before it is brought to the surface.

I'm seeking high and low for 20th century American plays that appeal to me, unfortunately Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? didn't make it to the list.

Title: Hold Your Own

Author: Kate Tempest 


Kate Tempest, winner of the Ted Hughes Prize for Brand New Ancients and widely regarded as the UK's leading spoken word poet, has produced a new poem-sequence of electrifying power. Based on the myth of the blind prophet Tiresias, Hold Your Own is a riveting tale of youth and experience, sex and love, wealth and poverty, community and alienation. Walking in the forest one morning, a young man disturbs two copulating snakes - and is punished by the goddess Hera, who turns him into a woman. This is only the beginning of his journey . . . Weaving elements of classical myth, autobiography and social commentary, Tempest uses the story of the gender-switching, clairvoyant Tiresias to create four sequences of poems: 'childhood', 'manhood', 'womanhood' and 'blind profit'. The result is a rhythmically hypnotic tour de force - and a hugely ambitious leap forward for one of the UK's most talented and compelling young writers. 

My Thoughts:

Wow, just wow. If only you could see how many poems I marked in this collection! Many of the poems were very relatable to me. I liked how ancient and modern voices and settings were mixed, how Teiresias's story was stretched as far as our day.

Kate Tempest pondered upon thoughts and theories like:
  • Life is a memory, everything happened before
  • There are different stages of us, we change all the time and who we are today is not the same person who we were 10 years ago
  • Sometimes there is no point in differentiating between man and/or woman, after all in the end we are all humans
I recommend this little poetry book to those who like gender studies and enjoy good verse.

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