Shattered Relationships, Alcoholism and Mental Illness (17+ advisory)
The adults are talking. A night unfolds in the pathological marriage of two tortured souls, a middle-aged New England professor and his carping wife. Turning the underbelly of bourgeois academia into a microcosm of human relationships in all their arduous complexities, it’s a harrowing descent into the private lives and painful secrets of two couples thrown together for an evening. George (Dean Jones) is an associate professor of history who has turned to alcohol to deal with his vituperative, vicious wife Martha (Jan Broberg), whose appetite for administering abuse knows no bounds. Invited to the couple’s home for late-night drinks are new professor Nick (Chris Whiteside), and his naïve wife Honey (Sceri Ivers), where over the course of the evening, the polished veneer of the hosts tarnishes grotesquely. The witty repartee of consummate sophisticate Martha degenerates into increasingly violent verbal abuse of both her husband and guests, while George’s stoic façade crumbles both physically and emotionally. The horrified Nick and Honey initially come off as happier foils to the misery of the older married couple, but the guests are soon mirroring George and Martha in their mutual antagonism, giving voice to buried resentments and alcohol-fueled revelations of repressed injuries.