Christopher Prentice and Joseph Stearns in Edward Albee's The Zoo Story.

The Zoo Story

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But this is Prentice’s showcase. He moves and talks with the intensity of a shock treatment, keeping a precarious on a razor-wire of ramblings about the grotesqueries of life.

Catey Sullivan, Windy City Times

A pair of relentlessly suspenseful one-acts, The Dumb Waiter and The Zoo Story explore the flipsides of killing time. Premiered in 1960, the plays concern the desperate need to communicate (or not) that drives us to violence and beyond.

The Zoo Story depicts a clash of classes as a young vagrant recounts his visit to the zoo to a well-to-do family man and draws the listener into his own primal urges.

Signal Ensemble earns praise for clean direction and strong acting, especially from Christopher Prentice, impressive as the troubled Jerry ... Prentice (who turned in a chilling performance earlier this summer as the ruthless Sebastian in First Folio Shakespeare's 'The Tempest') effortlessly delivers Albee's dense, vivid dialogue. He conveys Jerry's alienation and loneliness with detached sadness and tired resolve. A long, well-paced monologue about Jerry's love-hate relationship with his landlady's dog defines his engrossing, cliché-free performance nicely underscored by paranoia and longing.

Barbara Vitello, Daily Herald

But this is Prentice’s showcase. He moves and talks with the intensity of a shock treatment, keeping a precarious on a razor-wire of ramblings about the grotesqueries of life.

Catey Sullivan, Windy City Times

Christopher Prentice, as Jerry, was magnificent as the story-telling poor loser who recounts his trip to the zoo, his life in a four story walkup and his encounters with the landlady’s dog. Prentice delivers one of the finest, most engagingly hypnotic performances seen on a Chicago stage this year. The difficult long speeches and monologues test the metal of any actor yet Prentice is so natural and expressive that he becomes down right scary as the crazy vagrant. Prentice adds physical movements and facial gestures to effective convey Jerry’s rage.

Tom Williams, Chicago Critic

  • The Zoo Story
  • By Edward Albee
  • Directed by Ronan Marra
  • With Christopher Prentice and Joseph Stearns
  • Signal Ensemble Theatre
  • 2006