“I suppose it’s impossible for me to divorce my interpretation of plays from my background as an actor,” says Jesse Eisenberg, the Academy Award nominee best known for his 2010 role as Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network. Eisenberg has also written four plays, three of which he starred in; his latest, Happy Talk, starring Susan Sarandon, opened in New York this past spring and will be published next month by Grove Press. Here, his picks of plays worth reading.
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, by Edward Albee
During a play, the audience is stuck in the room with a person onstage, feet in front of them. And because of this stark proximity, the audience is forced to contend with this behavior and see it through to its end point, even when it’s a struggle. This is what initially excited me during the New Jersey community theater production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? that I saw when I was 15. It was thrilling to be in the room, a voyeur of people fighting with each other. It was so engaging that I was almost disappointed by the brilliant revelation of the non-existent son. I would have been completely satisfied by watching the painful interaction between this vengeful couple without an underlying reason for their distress.