Engaging via absurd
limits will be explored when the absurdist theatre piece The Zoo plays a short season at The Arts Centre Gold Coast next week. Pulitzer Prizewinning playwright Edward Albee’s show takes a look through a microscope at the dividing lines between social classes, asking the hard questions about human connectivity, love and personal boundaries. The one-act play follows two characters, Peter and Jerry, who meet on a park bench. Peter is a middle-class publishing executive, played by Hayden Jones, and Jerry is an isolated and disheartened man, played by Luke Townson. Jerry is desperate to have a meaningful conversation with another human being and intrudes on Peter by forcing him to listen to his stories. ‘‘The satirical piece is not a comedy but an absurdist performance based on a 1954 story set in New York,’’ says Townson. ‘‘People would come out of institutions and there would be no halfway house to rehabilitate them so they would live in Central Park. It explores the relationships and is a wonderful observation on life and what people value. It’s a social observation on class, gender and sexual orientation which are sometimes taboo issues but they are explored in depth and unashamedly.’’ Townson started working on this performance last year when he played Peter but has adapted the performance to reflect Australian life. ‘‘I’ve set it in Mosman, Sydney, and it references Pitt St and Elizabeth St and places around there,’’ he says. ‘‘It translates very easily to the Aussie culture as far as social class and demographics are concerned. You really do go through life in a big city and never engage with anyone at all, you always have ‘bus face’ on – never wanting someone to sit next to you, or engage you. It just makes you think about how we interact with other humans and our need for social interaction.’’
plays The Arts Centre Gold Coast from Wednesday to May 19.
Luke Townson stars in