A full four years before Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” became the best-ever stage drama about marital strife he made tsunami-size waves with his very first play, “The Zoo Story.”
Set in New York City’s Central Park, the 1958 one-act drama details the seeming bizarre exchanges between two men, a very alienated and confused Jerry and Peter, a family man who works in publishing. The play’s absurdist dialogue and shocking ending had the theater world scratching its collective head back in the day, but undoubtedly made more sense when it was paired with Samuel Beckett’s “Krapp’s Last Tape.”
Over time, of course, it became known as a masterpiece in its own right, a sort of warm-up to the more rigorous calisthenics of modern theater to come. All the more reason, of course, for Albee himself to create a first-act “prequel” to the play in 2009 when he wrote “Homelife.” It introduced a new character in Peter’s wife. It made his most famous one-act a two-act play, heretofore known as “Albee’s At Home at the Zoo.”
It also provoked howls from the theater world, with critics asking if Albee had either lost his mind by tampering with his minor masterpiece or knew what he was doing when he wrote the play more than 50 years ago.
Theater being what it is, and with Utah’s own Hive Theatre Company bringing us the Utah premiere of this crucial work, you can judge for yourself. It’s another in Hive Theatre Company’s installments in vital works, courtesy of founders Jared and Tiffany Greathouse, a husband-and-wife team with intrepid taste in live theater performance. Spencer Belnap stars as Peter, with Tiffany Greathouse as Ann and Jared Greathouse as Jerry.
Edward Albee’s “At Home at the Zoo”
When » June 8, 9, 15 and 16, 8 p.m.
Where » The Sugar Space, 616 E. Wilmington Ave. (2190 South), Salt Lake City
Info » $12. Visit www.TheHiveTheatre.blogspot.com for more information.