(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Forty-six years after The Zoo Story, Albee’s playwriting career appeared to have come full circle. His play Peter & Jerry, a prequel to The Zoo Story, opened on May 28, 2004, to celebrate the fortieth season of the Hartford Stage Company, a theater long associated with Albee’s work. Critical reaction to the new work was mixed, with most reviewers praising it but others decrying his attempt to rework and update a classic.

Actually, the full title of the work is Peter & Jerry. Act I: Homelife. Act II: The Zoo Story. Albee says he was quite happy with the original The Zoo Story but wanted to flesh out and offer more insight into the character of Peter. In Homelife, Peter is now seen in his Upper West Side home, where he lives with his wife, two daughters, cats, and a parakeet. He is absorbed in a book (by Stephen King this time) that he will later bring to the park. Ann, his wife, wishes to have a frank talk with him about their married life together and joins him.

Peter attempts to continue reading his book; however, Ann will have none of it. She says that she loves him but is unhappy with their present life despite the obvious creature comforts. Ann wants her husband to let go emotionally and allow his passionate animal instincts to emerge more fully. Peter attempts to explain and justify his behavior, but Ann is disgusted with his explanations. She is far more...

(The entire section is 410 words.)


(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Bloom, Harold, ed. Edward Albee. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2001.

Bottoms, Stephen J. The Cambridge Companion to Edward Albee. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Gussow, Mel. Edward Albee: A Singular Journey. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999.

Kolin, Philip C., ed. Critical Essays on Edward Albee. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1986.

Mann, Bruce J. Edward Albee: A Casebook. New York: Routledge, 2003.

Nayar, Rana. Edward Albee: Towards a Typology of Relationships. New Delhi, India: Prestige Books, 2003.

Roudane, Matthew C. Understanding Edward Albee. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1987.