“Faciality” and animality in Edward Albee’s play The Zoo Story

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Ünügür Çalışkan D.

Theatre and Drama Studies Conference “HISTORY and MEMORY”, Gaziantep, Turkey, 3 - 04 December 2021, pp.28

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Gaziantep
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.28
  • Anadolu University Affiliated: Yes


“Faciality” and animality in Edward Albee’s play The Zoo Story Dilek Çalışkan Assist. Prof. Dr., Anadolu University dcaliskan@anadolu.edu.tr Edward Albee’s first play, The Zoo Story (1958), presents the violence inherent in the progressbased capitalist American society. With its emphasis on sameness and success, this society does not accept difference. Edward Albee challenges the discourses that are created in Society via Media and television through storytelling and animality. Jerry disturbs Peter with his stories (the dog story) and the zoo (he has never visited), who is sitting on a bench on a sunny Sunday and does not want to give- up the place he occupies, which results in murder as the central metaphor in the play. Peter represents the ideal American man, who is normal. He is the consumerist Little Man shaped by the ideals of success and progress-oriented American society. His threatening other (gay) Jerry, who is violent and has animalistic desires, wants to replace Peter by sitting on the bench in Central Park. Peter, on the other hand, insists on keeping his place (power and position). His wish for control, ironically, leads to crime (both visible and invisible) so to reveal his potential for criminality. As a powerful fable of social anomie, the play questions the discourse of animality through the encounter of solitary Jerry, who lives in a rooming house in Greenwich Village with the solitary Peter (although he is married), an executive in a publishing house, based on rigid frames of intelligence, gender, race, and color. This paper aims to discuss the concepts of “animality” and crime in the light of R. D. Laing’s, M. Foucault’s, and G. Deleuze’s (and F. Guattari's) views of madness to deconstruct them via the Deleuzian concept of “faciality” and to open up new spaces for existence in American Drama.