Edward Albee’s Peter and Jerry
Edward Albee’s Peter and Jerry is the first play of the season at Second Stage Theater. I am a huge fan of Second Stage. Consistently great acting, good productions, etc. and the venue is very cool.
What is interesting about this play is that the first half of the play was written in 1958 and was called The Zoo. It was one of Albee’s first plays. Supposedly Albee felt that the character Jerry needed a larger role and he that there was another act out there. He finally wrote one, a first act a few years ago. It is interesting that the first act is new and the second act is almost 50 years old.
The acting is unbelievable. Bill Pullman is incredible. I also like the simplicity of the scenery. In essence, the play is all about the dialog. Scene one is an conversation between a husband and wife who has been married probably 20 years. They are 45 years old. The wife, played by Johanna Day, who is also terrific, starts a conversation about their sex life over the course of their marriage. She wants him to be more forceful as the entire play explores the animal side of human nature.
Fast forward, second act. The husband, Jerry, goes to the park to read his book and is accosted by Peter, played by Dallas Roberts, a vagrant, who wants to have a conversation with Jerry. Roberts monologue is incredible as he speaks about his interlude with a dog. The end takes you by surprise.
I really enjoyed the acting and the dialog more in the first act than the second. I went with the girls who are also members of Second Stage. Jessica actually summed it up on the way out. She said "The acting was really good but it needed a plot". I laughed as she made her way down the stairs. A gentleman in front of us who was probably in his early 70’s smiled at me and said "It all begins with the dog". That pretty much sums up the play.
I am so glad I belong to Second Stage so we get to see plays like this because it isn’t something I’d necessarily run out to purchase. That is the beauty of buying a subscription to Second Stage. Highly recommend it.