Sunday June 9, 2013 / 2:00pmAt Home at the Zoo
How was your experience?
In "Zoo Story," a transient, Jerry (Kip Canyon), strikes up a conversation with a middle-class man, Peter (Phillip Wheeler), who is sitting on a park bench in New York. Peter is wary but too polite to leave, and Jerry pours out an astonishing flow of stories and confessions that mingle seductiveness and menace. The play rises to a violent conclusion that seems inevitable in retrospect. Peter says little, and we have to imagine his reaction to Jerry's non-stop talk. Many years later, Albee wrote a "prequel" that reveals what happened to Peter hours earlier. He and his wife, Ann (Mirie Ben-Tzur), had another conversation about her wish for more danger and passion in their safe and orderly middle-class life, which Peter clings to out of a deep desire never to hurt anyone. This prequel, "Homelife," puts "Zoo Story" in a completely different light and lets the audience hear the more famous early play with new ears. Garrett Johnson directed this performance of the duo, assisted by Shen Heckel. The actors in "Homelife" seemed competent but not inspired. They occasionally stepped on each other's lines or seemed a bit hesitant in timing or read the lines rather than inhabited them. However, Kip Canyon was very impressive in "Zoo Story," and Phillip Wheeler rose to the stimulus. Overall, not a great performance, but much more than merely worth seeing.