Tuesday, May 22, 2007

"Zoo Story" Chapter 10

I received a call from the theater company that I performed "The Glass Menagerie". They had a director that wanted to do Edward Albee's "The Zoo Story". So I picked up the play and I loved it. The play was such a great mixture of humor and tragedy.
The part was tremendous, Jerry, a sort of down and out character with great monologues. It was to be directed by this guy named Mark, whose family had been connected with theater in one way or another. He was basically the electric and light person for the theater but very knowledgeable.

The actor playing Peter, the other character in the play, had worked with me before in a truly terrible original play. We started reading thru the play at the beginning of rehearsal and right off the bat Mark said I was superficial, that I wasn't reaching deep inside of myself to achieve the character. He said I must examine myself to feel the pain, to feel the alienation from society.

I studied the play trying to understand Jerry. A lonely man , homeless, brilliant and suicidal. At the end of the play, Jerry thrusts himself on a knife being held by Peter. If he wanted to kill himself, why does he approach a total stranger and agitate him to a point that the man holds a knife to him?

The beginning of the play was very delicate in that it had to be believable that a man like Peter, a college professor, would stay and listen to Jerry about his dismal and lonely life. One interpretation that I toyed with was that Jerry was insane but that didn't seem logical because if Peter sensed that this homeless man talking to him was crazy, he would just get up and walk away. The insanity would come out later after jerry totally mesmerized Peter with his stories about his life.

The first line of the play was Jerry to Peter" I been to the zoo". It felt forced and artificial to me. Mark said he didn't believe me. He didn't believe I was in a open park. He didn't believe I was Jerry. I explored my own life. The time I felt nothing was going right. The time I felt completely alone. To help myself with this opening , I decided to try it for real. I went to the park and looked for someone sitting down by themselves so I could walk up to them and tell them " I been to the zoo". I walked around the park and spotted some guy. (continued)

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