Pet Peeve.

We saw the new production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? last night. Because we’re saving money for a down payment on an apartment (it will probably take about a year and a half) we’ve tried to cut back on our theater-going a bit. We kept our membership at Signature Theatre, which is fairly inexpensive and we get to see some incredible stuff, like the beautiful new productions of The Piano Lesson and David Henry Hwang's Golden Child, and the Roundabout, which I think is hit or miss, but the hits make up for the misses. Oh, and Playwrights Horizons because they're always doing great new stuff. But that’s it for this season.

Well, except for 3 shows: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Glengarry Glen Ross, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, all revivals that seemed too important to miss, and we were able to get discounted tickets for 2 of the 3.

As expected, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was great, a sort of prosaic interpretation that was surprisingly more shocking because it wasn’t as big and loud as you expect from this play. It felt ordinary, real. I guess I’m talking mostly about Amy Morton’s low-key performance as Martha. Riveting.

Still, as gorgeous and powerful as this production was, I have to register a complaint – and this has become a pet peeve for me because it’s not by a long shot the first time it’s happened in the last couple years at a high-priced Broadway show: our seats were in the left-hand section of the orchestra, not extreme left, not cheap “obstructed view” seats, just a few seats off the aisle, yet about 25% of the playing space was not visible to us.

In fact, C couldn’t see the bar from his seat. The bar! In Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?! I don’t know just what we missed, but I know that lots of stuff was going on the opposite side of the stage, the side we could see but clearly lots of people over there could not. I would guess all told there were several dozen seats from which large chunks of the stage were blocked from view.

It’s a shabby way to treat your audience. We didn’t pay $500 for premium center orchestra, but we did pay about 90 bucks for what should have been very good seats. I don’t know how else to see this as but a failure in directing and set design. Sightlines, for god’s sake. It’s theatre 101.