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At Home At the Zoo by Edward Albee

June 22, 2009

Albee wrote the second act of this play in 1958. Titled The Zoo Story, it tells the story of a chance meeting between Peter, an executive at a New York publishing company who leads a fairly sheltered existence. Peter is sitting on a bench reading a book in Central Park when he is interrupted by Jerry, an unstable self-proclaimed transient who longs to have “a real conversation” with someone. Peter reluctantly obliges.

The first act, written by Albee in 2004 to better fill out Peter’s character, gives us a glimpse into Peter’s home life, his relationship with his wife, two daughters and two parakeets. Although not as dramatic as the second act, it is charming, funny, and does give us a better sense for how sheltered Peter’s existence really is.

The play overall was pretty good. The acting was solid, and the minimalist set design was striking. There was a little too much monologue in the second act for me, and I actually would love to see a third act in which we see the effect of the conversation with Jerry was on Peter when he goes back to his life. Right now, it feels like an unfinished thought.

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