Sunday, March 2, 2008

Edward Albee plays at Stone Soup Theatre

Stone Soup Theatre in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle is entering the final week of producing two one-act Edward Albee plays: "The Zoo Story" and "Finding the Sun."

I attended the performance on Friday and was pleasantly surprised by the actors, the staging, the use of limited stage space, and the plays themselves. This is probably the right time for me to confess my most frequent and recent theater-going experiences have been of the high-shool-drama-group variety. (Gotta show support to family members, right?) So perhaps my expectations were lower compared to regular, professional, theater-going folks. But still...I do recommend checking this production out.

"The Zoo Story" (1959) and "Finding the Sun" (1983) both have a timeless quality. The issues and the dialog relate to 2008 just as easily as they did when written: parenting too much, living with depression, settling for good enough, meeting cultural and familial expectations that are contrary to own nature, examining sexual attraction and orientation.

One particular phrase of Albee's from "The Zoo Story" felt particularly insightful. Enough so that I was compelled to find the exact quote later:

"What I wanted to get at is the value difference between pornographic playing-cards when you're a kid, and pornographic playing-cards when you're older. It's that when you're a kid you use the cards as a substitute for a real experience, and when you're older you use real experience as a substitute for the fantasy."

In two sentences, Albee poked our communal headspace with a white-hot poker to simultaneously burn and cauterize. In both of these plays, he calls out bold subjects without a blink. Yow. I like.

Stone Soup Theatre seats about 50 patrons total and has been selling out ahead of time on Fridays and Saturdays. If you plan to catch one of the final performances, be sure to get your tickets ahead of time through

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