Virginia Woolf’s dark cocktail party

From Staff Reports

This weekend, the Pullman Civic Theatre invites community members to an after-hours cocktail party that will go horribly wrong. This is the premise of director Gary Thoren’s passion project, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

Beginning Friday, audience members will engage with Martha and George, a middle-aged couple, as they return home from a late-night party. The couple is incredibly unhappy together, so Martha decides to invite a young couple over for drinks. After an hour of social climbing in the small college town they reside in, secrets and mind games begin to tear the cast apart.

“Martha is a damaged person who absolutely lives in the moment,” said actress Char Fluster, who plays the role of Martha.

Thoren acknowledged the serious nature of the play and anticipates audience members will love each other more after viewing the play.

“I like to direct plays that have depth, meaning,” he said. “Hopefully you learn something about yourself by the end of it.”

Thoren decided to do the play when PCT retiree Ruth Vanderwall passed away in 2013. Before her death, Thoren asked to direct his current project when they attended last year’s “The Graduate” together.

“Ruth was very important to me and most of us at PCT,” Thoren said. “When Ruth spoke we listened.”

But Ruth isn’t the only one who recognized the greatness within the script.

The play was originally written for Broadway in 1962 before becoming an Academy Award-winning feature film in 1967.

Elizabeth Taylor led the star-studded film cast, Thoren said.

“This play is considered one of the classics of American cinema,” he said.

The play will be held at the Pullman Civic Theatre on April 4, 5, 10, 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m. as well as matinees at 2 p.m. on April 6 and 13. Tickets can be bought at Dissmore’s IGA, Neill’s Flowers, and Wild Ivy. Messages can also be left at (509) 332-8406.