traffic of our stage: Albee's "peter and jerry"

Topics: Edward Albee, The Zoo Story, Samuel Beckett Pages: 11 (4220 words) Published: May 25, 2014
The Massachusetts Review, Inc.

Traffic of Our Stage: Albee's "Peter and Jerry"
Author(s): Normand Berlin
Source: The Massachusetts Review, Vol. 45, No. 4 (Winter, 2004/2005), pp. 768-777 Published by: The Massachusetts Review, Inc.
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Normand

Berlin
of our

Traffic

Peter

Albee's

Stage:
and Jerry

premiere
of a play by amajor
dramatist
should
an event,
that demands
the attention
of
The
always be
something
its fortieth
serious playgoers
and critics. To celebrate
anniversary,
world

to its credit, commissioned
to write
Edward Albee
a new
to be performed
with
his 1958 ground
play
one-act
Tlte Zoo Story, to round out a full evening
breaking
play,
The Zoo Story
tells it, the idea of expanding
of theater. As Albee
a two-act
to
in his mind
for years?46
years,
play was percolating

Hartford

Stage,
one-act

to be exact?and

now, prodded
by the Hartford
Stage request for
was ready to act on the idea. The result was the
on May
of Peter and Jerry, with Act I the
world
20,2004,
premiere
new one-act
and Act II "The Zoo
called "Homelife"
Story."
play
us a glimpse
life of Peter before he
"Homelife"
of the home
gives
in Central
Park and is confronted
bench
goes to that legendary
a new

play, Albee

up Peter pre-77/e Zoo Story sounds like a good
by Jerry. Picking
and critics have com
reviewers
because many
idea, especially
a criticism
himself
that Peter is underwritten,
that Albee
plained
echoes

says that he "always
of Peter." Unfortunately,
he

when

the character

there
thought
the execution

was more

to

of that idea

is a disappoint
the desired
effect. "Homelife"
produce
can stand by itself, as Albee
ment
both as a one-act
sug
play that
and as the first act of a longer play called Peter and Jerry. gests,
in Berlin
The Zoo Story, first produced
by the Schiller Theater
does

not

in 1959

on

American

a double-bill
theater

the Provincetown
exciting

voice

Broadway?up
ater?seemed

with

history
Playhouse

was

Beckett's

when

the

in New

Krapp's Last Tape, made
came
same double-bill
to

York

City

in 1960. A new,
at a time when

heard off-Broadway
being
to the '60s really a synonym
for American
to be stagnating, with
achievements
the highest

768

This content downloaded from 203.135.62.20 on Thu, 20 Mar 2014 12:51:01 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

the
of

America's

dramatists
(O'Neill, Williams,
Miller)
major
a dramatic
it. America
needed
rebirth. Albee's
play,
three

behind

by the major New
an importance

reviewed

to give off
newspapers,
helped
to maintain,
it would
continue
alternate
the
theaters
throughout

York
that

Broadway
with
and
off-off-Broadway
Albee's
land soon following.
debut
that put on early O'Neill,
with
from one-act
eventually
moving

took place
both

in the very

theater

pioneering

plays
The Zoo

playwrights
to full
off-Broadway
The
Story Albee wrote

After
plays on...
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