THEATER REVIEW: “At Home at the Zoo” in Stockbridge [Berkshire on Stage]

(from left)Joey Collins, Tara Franklin and David Adkins.
(from left) Joey Collins, Tara Franklin and David Adkins

Review by Macey Levin

Edward Albee burst onto the theater scene in 1957 with his stark and multi-layered The Zoo Story leading into a celebrated career that includes Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Tiny Alice, A Delicate Balance, Seascape, The Goat and many others. He is known for his thematic concepts regarding the relationship amongst families, communication or lack of it and analytical introspection. Many of his characters are unsympathetic. The audience may understand their perspectives but not empathize with them. This is the case in At Home at the Zoo currently at Berkshire Theatre Group’s Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge.

Almost since The Zoo Story was written, people have wondered where Peter was before he arrived at the park for the impending confrontation with Jerry. This play is in two acts: the first is titled Home Life, which shows Peter earlier that day; the complete The Zoo Story is second.

Home Life opens when Peter’s (David Adkins) wife Ann (Tara Franklin) enters the living room and says “We should talk.” Being absorbed in a text book his company has published, he doesn’t respond. As she urges him to speak about their marriage they reveal secrets of their past lives and insights into their relationship. Peter is more reluctant to discuss their issues while Ann’s ferocity pushes him into confronting the ailments within their marriage. This upper middle class couple with two daughters and two parakeets living in an expensively decorated high-rise apartment building don’t know each other’s needs. Becoming agitated but hiding his emotion, Peter leaves to go sit and read on his favorite bench in a deserted spot in Central Park.

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