Greetings, Omaha Community Playhouse blog reader!
My name is Noah Diaz and I’m an actor/director/intern here at the Omaha Community Playhouse.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Steve Hartman and Megan Friend who play Nick and Honey, respectively, in OCP’s upcoming production of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Arguably one of the greatest American dramas, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? examines the breakdown of the marriage between middle-aged couple, Martha and George, and how that breakdown draws an unwitting younger couple, Nick and Honey, into their bitter and frustrated relationship.
In addition to a great deal of verbal sparring and emotional vulnerability, this show calls for a large amount of alcohol consumption from its cast of characters. What better way to delve into the world of the play with Megan and Steve than to play a drinking game?
Disclaimer: we drank soda because we are consummate professionals.
Noah Diaz: Thanks for humoring me, you guys. I feel like if I’m given the opportunity to play a theatre drinking game, I really have to take it.
Megan Friend: I mean, you bought me a Diet Cherry Pepsi, so I think we’re even.
Steve Hartman (laughing): Glad to be here, buddy.
ND: Okay. Here are the rules: I will ask you a question and you must answer correctly. If you don’t, you have to take a sip of your drink. We’ll start with some general Edward Albee questions first. Ready?
MF: Yes. No. I’m scared. Okay.
SH (laughing): Yeah. Lay it on us.
What year was Edward Albee born? (A) 1919, (B) 1924 or (C) 1928?
ND: Megan’s right. It’s 1928. Drink it up, Steve!
SH (laughing): No!
ND: Slow it down, Steve! Calm it down. Okay. Ready for round two?
What was Edward Albee’s first play? (A) The Sandbox, (B) The Zoo Story or (C) A Delicate Balance?
SH: The Sandbox!
MF: The Zoo Story!
ND: Yeah, it’s The Zoo Story.
SH: I knew it! Why didn’t I say it?!
MF: You’re going to be done with your drink before we even get to the third question.
ND: Okay okay okay. We’ll move to some Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? questions. Maybe Steve will actually know some of these.
SH (laughing): Make them easier!
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? opened on Broadway at the Billy Rose Theatre on which date? (A) November 13, 1962, (B) December 13, 1962 or (C) October 13, 1962?
MF: I’m going to totally guess and say December.
SH: Wow, okay. No, I’ll say November.
ND: Sorry, guys, but its October.
SH: Finally! About time you missed one.
MF (laughing): Let’s do this.
ND (laughing): Okay, let’s move on to a two-parter. This’ll be two questions so it’ll be worth two sips. Fill in the blanks.
Who played Honey in the most recent Broadway production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? And what famous actor is that actress married to?
MF: No, I know this.
SH: I’m just going to get my drink ready. I have no idea.
ND: (hums Jeopardy theme song)
MF: Agh! I know this!
ND: She recently played the role of Nora on HBO’s The Leftovers.
SH: Some of us can’t afford HBO, Noah.
ND: True. That’s really true. Another hint: her husband also appeared in that same production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? with her.
MF: I can’t remember.
ND: Her name is Carrie Coon and she’s married to Tracy Letts, who played George.
MF: It was right at the tip of my tongue!
ND (laughing): Drink it up!
ND: Okay, here’s the final question. It’s for the whole shebang. If you get it wrong, you have to down your whole drink.
MF: I have so much of my drink left!
SH (laughing): Shouldn’t have kept getting the answers right then.
Finish George’s quote: "All truth, being…”
ND: Steve’s right!
SH: YES! Drink!
MF (laughing): Nooooo!
ND: Phenomenal job, guys! Okay, now’s the part where I act like a professional and ask you some serious questions about your production of the show. Here we go!
What’s your history with Edward Albee and his work?
Megan: I’ve never done an Albee play before, but I have read his work and studied his plays. When I attended the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival a while back, they were producing a smaller festival dedicated to his work. Seeing his work live really sparked my interest. But yeah, this will be my first time actually performing in a play of his.
Steve: Yeah, I’m about the same. My experience with him has been relatively limited. I’ve always admired his work though.
What prompted you to audition for this production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Megan: I’d never auditioned at the Omaha Community Playhouse before! I’d always wanted to but I just never had the opportunity. I’d read the older version of the play before auditions and really connected to the role of Honey…so yeah. I’m just glad things worked out.
Steve: Great play, great theatre, great role.
Megan (laughing): Straight and to the point.
Steve (smiling): Yep.
What’s been the most challenging part of this process as a performer?
Noah: Don’t say the lines. Everyone always says learning the lines is the hardest.
Megan (laughing): Honestly, the language. I guess also having to act drunk.
Steve: With the character of Nick, it’s so hard to find out what his motivations are in relation to George and Martha. Sometimes he’s intrigued by them, sometimes he despises them, sometimes he’s turned on by them, you know? It’s about tracking his next step and making sure you don’t see me, as the actor, anticipating it.
So what’s next for you guys? What have you got planned after this?
Megan: I just accepted job with R.E.S.P.E.C.T. That’ll be fun. In terms of performing, I’m not sure yet. I’ll be auditioning around town and seeing where I land.
Steve: Yeah, no big plans here either. If I see an audition that catches my eye, I’ll head that way. But not plans yet.
(Megan and Steve share a look)
Steve: That was a boring answer, wasn’t it?
Megan (laughing): Yeah, it kinda was, but it’s nice to keep your options open.
You can see the Omaha Community Playhouse’s production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, running May 8–June 7, 2015; Thursday–Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $35 for adults and $21 for students. To purchase tickets, or for more information, call (402) 553-0800 or click here.