Gonzaga University theatre Associate Professor Brian Russo will bring Edward Albee’s explosive drama “The Zoo Story” to the stage for one weekend only through The Way Off-Broadway Theatre Group at 8 p.m., April 24-26 and at 4 p.m., Sunday, April 27 at the Empyrean Coffee House (145 S. Madison St.) in downtown Spokane.
Considered by many a watershed play in American theatre, Albee’s 1960 drama shows a chance encounter in New York’s Central Park between Peter, an affluent executive with the “perfect” family and life, and Jerry, an alienated and menacing loner who is desperately searching for human connection. The encounter between the two men moves from slightly uncomfortable to viciously revealing as Jerry exposes the pain of his existence while pressing on the sensitive places in Peter’s life.
The play marked the beginning of Albee’s career, which has been a continuous exploration into American life, particularly attacking the sense as Albee has said, that everything in our country is “peachy-keen.” Albee, three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, is also known for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” and “The Goat or Who is Sylvia?”
The Way Off-Broadway Theatre Group represents an effort by Russo to bring to Spokane audiences what he describes as “gritty urban plays in an up-close downtown setting.”
Last fall, audiences enjoyed Kenneth Lonergan’s “This Is Our Youth,” the group’s premiere production. “The Zoo Story” is directed by and features Russo in the role of outsider Jerry, with Michael Bowen, actor and arts editor for The Inlander, as Peter. Admission is $6 and reservations can be made by calling the box office at (509) 323-6551.