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The Zoo Story and Other Plays

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  2,572 ratings  ·  45 reviews
This volume of plays contains Edward Albee's four most famous one-act works. They are "Death of Bessie Smith", "Zoo Story", "American Dream", and "Sand Box".
Paperback, 142 pages
Published 1960 by Penguin Books (first published 1959)
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David Schaafsma
Sep 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: plays
I played the conservative, bespectacled establishment character Peter in a small college production of Albee's one-act play in the spring of 1974. The wild anti-establishment Jerry had most of the (largely absurdist) lines, but Peter has the final dramatic moment in the play, heh heh. And how!

Only two guys on stage, making a dramatic impact, and it works as drama. The guy who played Jerry in the play convinced me to drink a lot with him before the final dress rehearsal, just to see what would ha
Jan 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It's the source of one of my favorite lines: "Sometimes a person has to go a very long distance out of his way to come back a short distance correctly."
May 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Performed, bitches.
Mar 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is absolutely one of my favorite plays. Despite it's weird absurdity played throughout and the no nonsense of the only two characters based in one setting, it was this that gave it so much more depth and meaning to the human condition. Jerry can be the archtype for the human desire, the subconsciouss, and that he is in touch with it makes him 'insane'?! What is insane then? That means 'sane' is a porduct of societal conditioning for the most part...Albee subtely comments on that and got me ...more
Jun 22, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: modern-plays
داستان باغ وحش که عنوان اصلی اش "پیتر و جری"ست، عمدتن در مورد تنهایی، جداافتادگی، بی ارتباطی اجتماعی و شرایط غیر انسانی جهان تجاری و مدرن است. پیتر از طبقه ی متوسط، با همسر و دو دختر، دو گربه و دو طوطی، و جری مردی خالی از احساس و جدا افتاده، روی نیمکت پارک مرکزی در نیویورک نشسته اند. جری که دنبال یک هم صحبت است، از آرامش و سکوت پیتر استفاده می کند تا داستان "جری و سگ" و علت رفتنش به باغ وحش را تعریف کند. عناصر طنز و تعلیق های دراماتیک آنجاست که جری، مایل نیست قربانی اش، هم صحبت ساکتش را از دست ب ...more
Jul 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theatre-related
I saw "Zoo Story" for the first time as part of "At Home At The Zoo" at ACT in San Francisco, and immediately went to the original script to look up the (very few) changes. Tightly written, if some of the idioms are dated. On the one hand it benefits greatly from and becomes a richer play for the prelude of "Homelife" which constitutes the first Act of "At Home At The Zoo." On the other, there are elements of "Homelife" metaphorically repeated in "Zoo Story," which leaves a feeling of both redun ...more
Sep 10, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: ap-english, drama
Whenever I finish an existential work such as Zoo Story, my first thought is That was it? It isn't until after I finish them that I start to realize the absolute lack of plot actually develops the meaning of the works. That's why I love existential literature and absurd theatre: you don't actually know what it's about until you look at it in retrospect. The "plot" of this play is two guys sitting on a bench. Talking. See, I told you it's pretty devoid of a story.

I'm not going to divulge into wh
Sep 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: albee
read this one years ago. two guys meet at a park bench. one forces the other to do something. it's personal. i think things like this happen all the time, on-line?

yeah, you betcha, like on the cat-walk, yeah, the cat-walk...this personal need for speed....personalpersonalpersonalpersonalpersonalpersonalpersonalpersonalpersonalpersonal....

kneeeeeeed. for i dunno, perpetual motion, perpetual in zoo story...why the kaaa-nife?

well...for the kneed for gotta wonder, all th
Jan 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dramast
The Zoo Story is definitely the most potent play in this collection, explicit in a very subtle way, but the collection as such is fairly lackluster: while The Sandbox and The Death of Bessie Smith seem more of straight-forward, not-very-inspired sketches than full-pledged, stand-alone plays, The American Dream just does not hit the mark for me. Albee is quite literal at times, which either offends me or delights me, there seems to be nothing in between. Having that said, I should probably revisi ...more
Apr 30, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: school
I dig Albee but this play which brought him to fame doesn't really feel like it holds up today. Sure, the theme of the individual facing a great existentialist dillema and feeling isolated even in an urban setting still permeates contemporary literature and film. And Zoo Story might have been moving and influential when it was first released.

However, looking back it feels like Albee was young and just got finished reading the works of Camus.

Still, great one act with a pretty amazing(and famous)
Nov 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
Yet another great work form Albee. I was led to believe this is about beastiality and while there are disturbing notes-- Jerry does not stop mentioning the Dog's errection-- there is no actual animal sex. No, the work is perhaps far more disturbing; it is another story of the interplay between humans, mind games, manipulation, and what exactly is true and what is false (is it that easily defined?) A wonderful play, Albee's first. If you enjoyed Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, this is for you!
Lauren Ray
Jul 07, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: 16+
This was the first play that I directed at the university level. It was a fun experiment, and I was rather pleased with the result.

As far as the text goes, I think that this script is pretty solid. It has a lot of room for interpretation, crazy characters, and lengthy (16 page?) monologues. This is a good play for a director who doesn't have a large actor pool to choose from, because it's a 2 person cast.

I replaced Jerry with a girl, which changed the dynamics up quite a bit, but worked really
M. V.
Jul 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Albee used to be one of my all-time favourite dramatists--though I'm starting, now (at 25), to question my age-old admiration.
I've long ago read all the other works but Malcolm, which was dreadfully terrible.
Don't see Malcolm, don't read Malcolm. It's trash.
I can't even imagine what James Purdy's novel is like...clumsy words picked out and strung up from a yicky heap, more than likely.
Shane Miller
May 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Perhaps Albee's best work, and what makes it even more amazing is that it was his first play ever written. It is one thinkg to read it, it is another to see it performed (as most plays usually are), but this one-act whopper of a show is deep, powerful, and will stick with you long after reading or watching it perform. See it, read it, hell act in it, it is worth the time.
Sep 20, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays
This absurdist play has always haunted me, but only in written form. The sole production I saw of the play was in college, with two of the worst actors imaginable stumbling over Albee's script for thirty minutes.
If anyone can recommend a film version, that would be aces.
William West
I've never had any use for Albee. His idea of "revelation" always seems to be that there are actually people who don't live "idealized" (by some idealized standard) lives. Profoundly american, and I don't mean that as a compliment.
Dec 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
How absurd this one-act play is! A play that shows you the ailments if today's world with its alienation, homosexuality, void, nothingness, and deteriorartion! I loved its absurdity.. though Albee is such a pervert actually!!
Mar 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I saw this first performed my freshman year of college (my friend played Jerry...perhaps a little too well) and have loved it ever since. It's essentially the kind of play my 14 year old self wanted desperately to write but me at 26 can still love.
Jul 10, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
the sandbox is what my undergraduate thesis about. it is, in my opinion, a combination of realism and surrealism play. the 13-minute play is very short play indeed but it is about the gap existed between two generation. the generation of 19th C and 20th C.
Feb 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
strange story but it really affected me deeply .. I liked it .. I feel so sorry that he killed himself at the end .. it's so unfair that a smart and an educated man like him lives such a poor life, he deserves a better life
Aug 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays, weird-stuff
Albee does scary really good.
Dec 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
My favorite play. Absolutely amazing. Character driven, suspenseful, and overall a great journey.
Sep 12, 2010 added it
Yikes. I love Albee.
Solana Cain
Oct 02, 2007 rated it really liked it
I had to read this play for a drama class. I found it incredibly engaging. The characters were so clearly developed and distinguished. I really enjoyed this play and would highly recommend it.
Art Christensen
Aug 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Thanks for the recommendation, Andrea. I really enjoyed it.
Dec 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: plays
One of my favorite plays, Albee is a genius.
Feb 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Susan by: Harvey
Going to see this on stage in a few days. Will write review afterwards.

Grade: B+
Mar 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I give 5 stars just for The Zoo Story. It's marvelous.
Apr 14, 2007 rated it liked it
You might have to appreciate theatre of the absurd in order to enjoy this play. Otherwise, simply imagine Robin Williams as one of the actors, and you'll be alright.
Jan 07, 2009 rated it liked it
Read it and used it as my final assignment as an undergrad student. Had to go back many times to really understand it. . . :) Love the ending!
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Edward Franklin Albee III was an American playwright known for works including Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Zoo Story, The Sandbox and The American Dream. His works are considered well-crafted and often unsympathetic examinations of the modern condition. His early works reflected a mastery and Americanization of the Theatre of the Absurd that found its peak in works by European playwrights ...more
“The world is a zoo” 30 likes
“First, I'll kill the dog with kindness, and if that doesn't work, I'll just kill him.” 14 likes
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