Albee was able to live off of this fund by supplementing it with small odd jobs, thus allowing him to focus on his writing career. Whether or not people liked The Zoo Story, they felt compelled to discuss it, largely because of the sensational aspects of the play and the fact that people were confused about whether the play was absurd or realistic. The Zoo Story can best be understood (especially by actors, who are trained to play intentions but not mysteries or ambiguities) by starting off with a single, basic assumption. But what is important is that one must communicate; and the entrance hall, even with a dog in an entrance hall, would be a start. The final major theme of The Zoo Story is wealth and poverty, and the illusions that are created between the social and economic classes. Of Jerry’s story, Peter says, in fact he yells, “I DON’T UNDERSTAND!”, but Jerry doesn’t believe him and neither do most critics. Oh my tack,but to defend. ) Eventually, Peter has had enough of his strange companion and tries to leave. Peter says that he does not believe so and Jerry replies: “That’s too bad. But in my opinion this is not reason enough to shelve Albee. https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/zoo-story, "The Zoo Story There is, however,about ation and setting however, never is, Americanplays whichemploysynm-forced,as it so often is in, say, a bolism-from O’Neill to Williams Williams play. . What was once a trim and lightly muscled body has begun to go to fat; and while he is no longer handsome, it is evident that he once was.” In contrast to Peter, Jerry lives in a four-story brownstone roominghouse on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West. Facts are sensible. Jerry, the antagonist in The Zoo Story, confronts Peter while he is reading a book in Central Park and coerces him into partaking in an act of violence. The are symbols large and are, as I said earlier, traditional Christian symbols. . He would force that person to understand, or, to make a cliche literal, die trying. houses. It calls attentionto it- isolation. Playwrights such as Eugene Ionesco believed that life is terrifying because it is fundamentally absurd. If he succumbsto he has slain, whom Peter is adfear he enforces isolationin his dressing. Most New York critics declared The Zoo Story to be a very exciting play and viewed it as the beginning of a revitalized New York theatre scene. After being passed around from colleague to colleague, it was finally produced at the Schiller Theater Werstatt in Berlin, Germany, opening there on September 28, 1959. However, Jerry soon begins to insert strange comments and questions into what is on the surface a conversation between two strangers trying to get to know each other. , 1962), pp. are the At the age of thirty, Albee quit his job at Western Union and wrote The Zoo Story (1958), his first significant play. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? At the very end of the play as Jerry dies, he says, “. One of the most extreme examples of this conservative tide was the effort led by Senator Joseph McCarthy to harass and prosecute individuals suspected to have ties with the Communist Party. Politically, the U.S. was dominated by conservative values during the 1950s. Layered throughout this short one-act play are three overriding themes: absurdity versus reality, alienation and loneliness, and wealth and poverty. 62) scene at tern,is the modernized The allusionis perfectly sustained Gethsemane. Jerry to avoid talking aboutanysubject because cannot he be into easily fit that has real relevance, anything any of Peter’s neatly labelled thathas roots the penetrating care- pigeonholes. the symbolsand their equivalents The play opens upon Peter,who to work out the play’s meaning. This is illustrated with the character of Peter, who Albee uses as an example by having Jerry methodically bring him down to an animalistic level in order to show that he is just like everyone else. was a critical and financial success and was eventually made into a film with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in 1966. Review in Critical Essays on Edward Albee, edited by Philip C. Kolin and J. Madison Davis, p. 41, Hall, 1986. “Drama: Bucketful of Dregs,” in Christian Century, February 17, 1960, pp. Peter-I DON’T UNDERIn the dialogue of the death STAND. . Petergoes on laughing and Jerry him that something reminds has happenedat the zoo about which Peteris curious. The Beat Generation were members of an artistic movement that centered in New York City and San Francisco during this time who protested against conservative values. Drama for Students. the cats . is seated on a bench in the park. MISTER, I’VE BEEN TO THE ZOO!” Through Jerry’s stories, Peter learns that Jerry lost his parents at the age of ten and then went to live with his aunt, who died on the afternoon of his high school graduation. The 1950s in the U.S. are viewed by many people as a period of prosperity for American society as a whole. He has chosen tradithat imprisons I him, that it kills tional Christian symbols, think, him. Saint Peter, d. AD 64?, most prominent of the Twelve Apostles, listed first in the Gospels, and traditionally the first bishop of Rome.…, The Zionist People's Council Proclaim the Establishment of the State of Israel, https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/zoo-story, The Ice Wagon Going Down the Street by Mavis Gallant, 1964, Edward Albee was a child adopted by rich parents. "Drama and Performance", Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives, Reuben, Paul P. "Chapter 8: Edward Albee. Coy is an esteemed authority on drama who has contributed to numerous publications. Throughout the course of the play, Jerry tells Peter only what he wants Peter to know, and does not like to be asked questions or be judged. However, Jerry is quick to counter these moments with genuinely pleasant, benign comments and interesting stories to keep Peter engaged. The Zoo Story by Edward Albee details what happens when one character enters the life of another character and quickly changes it forever.
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