Zoo Story

The following reflection was written in 2003, when I was between 25 and 26 years old.

The Bradford College Spring Student Theater Festival in 1997 featured three plays: Phone Call by Pat Vogelpohl and directed by EvilDeb (I think), Samuel Iscariot written and directed by Baptiste, and Albee’s Zoo Story directed by me. I actually think they ran in that order as well, with my boys Jason and Jason finishing off the show with my pretty good for a college student, slightly melodramatic version of the play I’d read a few months before.

I think Zoo Story was my attempt to show I could actually direct something. All I’d done the year before was organize a group of people to get up and read my play sitting in chairs. If I was ever to be the writer/director I dreamed to be, I needed to prove myself with someone else’s play first.

I recall that I did an alright job at it. Jason and Prok were both experienced actors and I think it took a little while for them to get used to me as an inexperienced director. I was always very worried about the play and about their perceptions of me, if I recall correctly. I think they played a joke on me once where they said they were quitting and I believed them and I was crushed and when they said it was a joke I couldn’t believe that it was. I thought they were joking about it being a joke to try and make me feel better.

The point is, when you put an insecure director in charge of a brilliantly written play its bound to suffer a bit. I think the fact that I picked two of the best actors on campus to be my players helped it quite a bit.

Samuel Iscariot was fucking dark but awesome, the sort of story I’d never expected to see on stage. I can’t recall specifics but I believe it had something to do with Judas and such.

Phone Call was brutal and I believe it involved a clock. The play, if I recall correctly, was done in real time, long before that sort of thing came into vogue with shows like 24.

The show was well received and the house was packed each night. At the cast party I was exposed to Ani Difranco for the first time, by the Ani freak that was Baptiste. I didn’t hang out long. I guess I had more important things to do and I eventually made my way back to my cluster house.