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Classic American drama to close NMSU theater arts season

"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" will be presented by the New Mexico State University Department of Theatre Arts and the American Southwest Theatre Company April 27-May 6 at the Hershel Zohn Theatre on the NMSU campus.

Joby Strachan, left, and Timothy Dayne perform in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" The play opens April 27 at New Mexico State University's Hershel Zohn Theatre. (Courtesy photo by Josh Bachman) Timothy Dayne, right, and Ruth Cantrell play a couple in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" opening April 27 at New Mexico State University's Hershel Zohn Theatre. (Courtesy photo by Josh Bachman)

It is the final production of the 2006-2007 NMSU Theatre Arts/ASTC Season.

A classic American drama by Edward Albee, the play tells the tale of two couples.

George, a history professor, and his wife, Martha, invite newly hired biology professor Nick and his wife, Honey, over for drinks.

The story line begins at 2 a.m. and ends at dawn. As the hours pass by, each character learns painful truths about love, loss, illusion, and the rationalizations we create when we cannot stand to face the truth.

Mike Wise, director, and NMSU faculty member, said he sees the play as a microcosm of society.

"The play is about the accommodations you are willing to make in a young relationship, and what accommodations you are willing to live with after you've been in a relationship for a very long time," Wise said.

He described the play as both comic and brutal because the dialogue is vicious, yet funny.

"The characters take each other apart with surgical precision and laser-like accuracy," Wise said. "Imagine spending an evening with Simon Cowell and some tone deaf singers, only three times worse!"

Wise will lead an experienced production staff of NMSU faculty including Jim Billings, scenic and lighting designer; Deb Brunson, costume designer; David Hereford, props designer; and David Sage, sound designer. NMSU students Heather Carrasco, stage manager; Rose Linnell, assistant stage manager; and Lea Flores, assistant director, will round out the production staff.

Wise said the characters of the play present a challenge for the actors set to perform. George and Martha will be played by faculty members Timothy Dayne and Ruth Cantrell, respectively, while NMSU students Sean Darragh will play Nick and Joby Lee Strachan will play Honey.

"I'm very excited to be working on this play because it has been one of my favorites since reading it as a student," Wise said. "I think the fact that we are doing it on a university campus should make it doubly illuminating and exciting."

Ticket prices vary from $10-$15 depending on performance dates. Call the ASTC box office at (505) 646-4515 or 1-800-646-ASTC for details.