Monday, 13 September 2010

The Zoo Story by Edward Albee.

The Zoo Story is the first play by the American playwright Edward Albee. It was written in 1958. The particularity of this text is that it is written in a long one act play, and the only thing that happens is conversation until the very end in which things change.

The play is about a confrontation between two men, Jerry and Peter, in a bench in New York´s Central Park. Jerry, a man in his late thirties, walks into the park and he finds Peter, a man in his early forties, who is reading a newspaper. Jerry starts the conversation by asking Peter about the zoo. At first, Peter does not want to be disturbed, but finally he gets involved in the conversation, telling Jerry things about his life. He says he is a publishing executive with a wife and two daughters, two cats and two parakeets.

Jerry tells Peter that he is completely alone in this world and tells him stories from his life, including where he lives, the things that he gets at home, the story of the landlady´s dog, his parents´ death, the reasons about his frequent visits to the zoo, and some other stories.

After being for a long time listening to Jerry, Peter decides to leave, but Jerry does not let him and begins to tickle Peter. Peter giggles and laughs, and in the end he agrees to listen to Jerry telling what happened at the zoo. At the same time Jerry begins to push Peter off the bench, saying that it is his bench. Peter gets angry and they have a little dispute about the bench. Unexpectedly, Jerry takes out a knife and he drops it near Peter. Peter holds the knife and Jerry makes a manoeuvre to impale himself on the knife.

Jerry is bleeding on the bench and asks Peter “ Could I have planned all this., I couldn´t have. But I think I did.” Peter is horrified and runs away from scene. Jerry lies there, saying “Oh... my... god”, his dying words.

The story leaves us a message and is that of people being immersed in their own worlds not paying attention to other people or things. The zoo represents the animals that we, as human beings, have inside. These animals are ready to get out if our world is disturbed.


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