Dialogue in the production of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" has students in the Davidson Drama Club working overtime.

Dialogue in the production of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" has students in the Davidson Drama Club working overtime.

Director Trace Crawford said he has never done a show on the level of the current production, with as much emphasis on the words.

"Two nights ago in Act 1, they were frustrated that they didn't have the dots connected," he said of the four actors rehearsing for opening night on Jan. 30. "When I came in yesterday, they had already been there for two hours."

Crawford said he is hoping that the drama, appearing on stage at 8 p.m. on Jan. 30 and 31 in the Performing Arts Center, will be good enough to take to the Thespian conference.

"It is a lot to expect of them, and they are meeting it," he said.

The amount of dialogue and the subject matter has been intense for Ben Miller as George, Michelle Weiser as Martha, John Ackerman as Nick and Camille Young as Honey.

A couple members of the state board of directors will be in the audience to determine if the production is good enough to qualify for the state conference, according to Crawford.

He said he is not letting the appearance of representatives from the state board of directors' influence how he and his cast work on the production.

"Hopefully it is a good production no matter what," he said.

If the production is chosen for the state conference, Crawford said, it will affect their planning. They will have to make sure that the set and costumes are ready to travel, without being destroyed.

The play, which was written by Edward Albee, should have won the Pulitzer Prize back in 1963, according to Crawford.

Columbia University trustees apparently objected to the profanity and sexual themes in the play and refused to award it the Pulitzer Prize.

"No one got it that year," Crawford said.

By today's standards, Crawford said, the language is no worse than one would see on television, but it has been rated PG-13.

Intellectual discussions, razor-sharp verbal attacks, physical abuse and violent relationships will dominate the stage.

A small college serves as the backdrop for an after-party event held in George and Martha's home. George is a professor and Martha is the daughter of the university's president and alcohol has caused them to lose their inhibitions, saying what they really think and feel.

The entire concept of the play is based on shredding social pretenses.

The play was made famous in a 1966 movie production directed by Mike Nichols and featuring Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, George Segal and Sandy Dennis.

Every time the play is performed, Crawford said, it receives a Tony or an Oscar.

"Some of the credit has to be given to Albee," he said.

Since it is a "mature piece," which requires a lot of research, Crawford said, it will be performed by juniors and seniors.

"It stretches their chops," he said, "leaving room to grow for the ninth- and tenth-graders."

The production of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" will be on stage about three weeks before the Feb. 20 and 21 production of "Don't Drink the Water."

"Don't Drink the Water" will be performed by freshmen and sophomores and is a comedy set in Eastern Europe during the Cold War.

Woody Allen wrote "Don't Drink the Water" in 1966. It is a production about a New Jersey family held captive for being suspected spies.

"One neat new thing we are doing this winter is we are running a Museum of the Cold War opposite both productions," said Crawford.

Last year, the group had a museum, with emphasis on arts and sciences, tied into the winter productions. This year, Crawford said, he was trying to come up with another museum when technical director Diana Vance suggested history because both productions are tied into the Cold War.

While "Don't Drink the Water" is specific to Eastern Europe and spies, some of the allegory in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" pertains to the Cuban missile crisis and the debates between Richard Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev.

Crawford said the Museum of the Cold War will feature multimedia exhibits, timelines, poster displays and artifacts and will run concurrent with both productions.