Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Too often, fine actors with disabilities are barred from playing the roles their talents merit, so Blue Zone Theatre was founded to offer them opportunities that don't exist elsewhere. The result, in this case, is an eloquent and powerful production of Edward Albee's modern classic. It's undeniably disconcerting at first to discover that three out of the four actors are visibly disabled. But we soon get past that, and this production is in many ways superior to the overly cozy one at the Doolittle Theatre a few years ago, with John Lithgow and Glenda Jackson, directed by Albee himself. These actors play from the gut, and the small theatre enables them to be subtle. There are tricky moments, as when the ditsy young wife Honey (Teal Sherer), seated in her wheelchair, declares, "I love to dance. I dance like the wind." But she makes it work, doing "interpretive" wheeling and zooming round the stage. Ann Colby Stocking, who's given us excellent work in the past, is an impassioned and brassy Martha, Jack Patterson keeps the fires raging beneath George's seeming submissiveness, Sherer finds ample comedy as the brandy-swilling Honey, and Paul Haitkin captures Nick's smug arrogance as well as his vulnerability. Noho Arts Center, 11136 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m., Sun., 3 p.m.; through March 1. (323) 960-7711.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: Jan. 24. Continues through March 1, 2009