Following the Community Night* performance of At Home at the Zoo at The Off Center Monday night, the cast of the 2 plays that make-up the full performance were joined by cast members of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf (currently running at St. Edward’s) for a Q&A session led by St. Ed’s theater history professor, Brooks Bar. The group discussed playwright Edward Albees’s penchant for building his long terrains of dialogue with verbal boulders of unpredictable sizes, the challenge of understanding how his words were complicit in exposing the emotional fray in relationships (often of the marital variety) and his overall determination to punch holes in the generic brand of optimism bandied about by mainstream America. Nigel O’Hearn, creative director of Palindrome, the production company behind At Home at the Zoo, plays Jerry in Zoo Story, the original one-act play that inspired its first act prequel, At Home. In the play and in the post-show discussion, O’Hearn demonstrated an acute sensitivity to the cynicism of the writer, how the character he embodies needs to convey the complexities of a lonely soul struggling to connect with someone else, anyone else and the importance of modernist theater as a vehicle for examining real life. Although the other 2 actors in the ensemble give good performances, O’Hearn’s conviction in his portrayal of the harried Jerry is mesmerizing. He’s like Jake Gyllenhaal, when he still had some chops. The play runs through Sunday, Nov 21st.
*(reduced ticket price of $7 on Mon/Tues this week)