American master Edward Albee's (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, A.C.T.'s The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?) new spellbinder is a meticulously calibrated and brutal look at the lives of three New Yorkers. The story opens with Peter, a tweedy book editor, and his wife, Ann, whose everyday conversation takes an unexpected turn into dangerously personal territory. It's the kind of talk that can drive a husband out for a walk—to Central Park, where Jerry, a desperate outcast, awaits. An unforgettable pairing of Albee's original The Zoo Story with a freshly penned prequel, Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo (formerly titled Peter and Jerry) bares its teeth to threaten the delicately balanced world its characters inhabit.
"Stunning! Fresh and soaring piece of comic drama . . . brilliantly entertaining" —Contra Costa Times
"Extraordinary . . . You can feel the audience hanging on every word, and it's thrilling to experience dialogue that feels like action. . . you leave the theater still buzzing." —Chad Jones' Theater Dogs
"A bracing theater experience . . . Zoo rocks the audience!" —The Sacramento Bee
"Albee bares his teeth once again with this savagely witty exposé of civilization . . . a must-see!" —San Jose Mercury News
"Theater at its very best . . . features a dynamic trio of actors . . . a masterful production!" —KGO Radio
"Brilliant! The work has bark and bite." —Variety
"A darkly comic and thrilling glimpse of characters smashed up against the bars of social convention and their secret, suppressed identities. The more acidly articulate Albee's characters are, the more detached from reality and each other they become. Welcome to his world." —Time Out New York
"Tense, truthful, and hypnotic" —New York Daily News
"Albee has dared to write a prequel to the play that made his reputation . . . . Improbable as it sounds, the new stuff doesn't just hold up next to the famous bench encounter—it's better. . . In a sure sign of a writer in full command of his powers, the dialogue gets more matter-of-fact as the subjects grow more perverse—like watching a Balthus canvas come to life." —New York
"Emotionally erratic and ultimately chilling" —CurtainUp
"Tense, shocking, sexually charged, and loaded with the singsong, abstract dialogue that was so powerful in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? One of the season's must-see shows." —Show Business
"A thoroughly satisfying package of jagged-edged provocation" —Newsday
Reaction to The Zoo Story, 1959:
"That's the best fucking one-act play Iíve ever seen." —Norman Mailer
"I was in a daze. I was lost but I was at home. I was at sea but not drowning. The future had finally shown up. Whatever theatrical revolution had started in England and France had finally hit America. I walked around the Village for hours in a fever afraid to let go of the spell. Holy Christ, maybe I could be a playwright. . . . You can't imagine the debt that every American playwright writing after 1960 owes to Edward Albee. . . . A generation had a figurehead." —John Guare
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June 9, 5:30 p.m.
Get inside the artistic process—come early for a preperformance discussion with the director and a member of the A.C.T. artistic staff.
Theater on the Couch*
June 19, 8 p.m.
Join members of the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis for an exciting postperformance discussion that explores the psychological aspects of the show and addresses audience questions.
Koret Audience Exchanges*
June 23, 7 p.m.
June 28, 2 p.m.
July 1, 2 p.m.
After the show, stick around for a lively Q&A session with the actors, moderated by a member of the A.C.T. artistic staff.
OUT with A.C.T.
June 24, 8 p.m.
LGBT night at A.C.T. features a catered afterparty and a cast meet and greet. Visit www.act-sf.org/out for more information about how to subscribe to OUT nights.
*Discussions are free for ticket holders. Please note that performance times vary.
"Participate in your own life—fully. Donít sink back into that which is easy and safe. You're alive only once, as far as we know, and what could be worse than getting to the end of your life and realizing you hadn't lived it?" —Edward Albee
Edward Albee is one of America's best-loved playwrights and a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner for A Delicate Balance, Seascape, and Three Tall Women. In this thrilling West Coast premiere of his newest work, acclaimed director Rebecca Bayla Taichman, who directed the world premieres of Theresa Rebeck's The Scene and Mauritius and Sarah Ruhl's Dead Man's Cell Phone, makes her A.C.T. debut. A.C.T.'s renowned core company actors Anthony Fusco and René Augesen, who both recently performed in A.C.T.'s 'Tis Pity She's a Whore and Rock 'n' Roll, star alongside Tony Award-nominated actor Manoel Felciano, who appeared in Ragtime at The Kennedy Center, Sweeney Todd on Broadway, and A.C.T.'s Rock 'n' Roll. Joining the award-winning creative team is scenic designer Robert Brill, who received a 2009 Tony Award nomination for Broadway's Guys and Dolls and most recently designed the set for A.C.T.'s Blackbird.
Insight into the Play, the Playwright, and the Production
Each entertaining and informative issue of Words on Plays, A.C.T.'s in-depth performance guide series, contains a synopsis, advance program notes, study questions, and additional background information about the historical and cultural context of the play.
Words on Plays is available for purchase in the lobby of the theater during performances or online ($12 each + postage and handling). To subscribe to the full season ($70), call 415.749.2250.
Words on Plays Prepared by
Elizabeth Brodersen, Publications Editor
Michael Paller, Resident Dramaturg
Dan Rubin, Publications & Literary Associate
Lesley Gibson, Publications & Literary Intern
Megan Cohen, Dramaturgy Intern
Table of Contents
Characters, Cast, and Synopsis of Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo
Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo Meet and Greet / Design Presentation
Peering into the Shoebox: An Interview with Scenic Designer Robert Brill by Lesley Gibson