(Robert Hurwitt's interview in The San Francisco Chronicle appeared May 31, 2009.)
Edward Albee writes prequel to 'Zoo Story'
"I thought 'The Zoo Story' was OK but slightly one-sided, all about Jerry and not a lot about Peter. I thought it would be better if we knew more about Peter," Edward Albee says of his first play. The explosive one-act, paired with the New York premiere of Samuel Beckett's "Krapp's Last Tape," made Albee the hot, new playwright to keep an eye on when it opened off-Broadway in 1960.
Almost 50 years later, the 81-year-old author has long been widely acknowledged as the leading American playwright of the post-Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller generation while never losing a kind of enfant terrible aura.
The savage wit, sharp ear for contemporary speech, telling surreal touches and underlying anger that first surfaced in "Zoo Story" have continued to surprise, offend and delight audiences in plays from "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" to "Three Tall Women" and "The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?" ever since. Meanwhile, the short, dense park bench confrontation between the passive, academic Peter and the intrusive, talkative loner Jerry has remained one of the most popular plays of each decade.