Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Peter And Jerry

photo: Joan Marcus

Zoo Story, the nearly fifty year old one-act which put Edward Albee on the map, is still ferocious, riveting theatre: its enduring theme (that what we human beings call "humanity" is barely more than a push and a shove away from our true animal natures) is communicated succinctly, powerfully, in Albee's tight and suspenseful dramatic masterpiece of two men who encounter and provoke each other on a park bench. The play has been re-set in the current day and paired with a newly penned one-act prologue called Homelife: not only does this new first act go a long way toward fleshing out the character of Peter, now seen at home with his wife before he ventures out to the fateful events with Jerry at that park bench, it also deepens Albee's theme by including the more commonplace acts of emotional savagery that can occur in a long-standing intimate relationship. While I have some quibbles with the first act (the dialogue sometimes doesn't flow smoothly, even allowing for Albee's heightened style) I can't argue with the overall effect and impact of this double bill: Peter And Jerry is one of the most exciting shows of the year - both intellectually involving and viscerally powerful. Superbly directed by Pam Mckinnon and expertly performed by Dallas Roberts, Johanna Day and especially Bill Pullman, the production is a don't miss.

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