NEPA Scene Staff

Comedic play ‘At Home at the Zoo’ staged at real petting zoo in Lake Ariel Aug. 5-7

Comedic play ‘At Home at the Zoo’ staged at real petting zoo in Lake Ariel Aug. 5-7
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From a press release:

Act Out Theatre Group will present Edward Albee’s absurd comedy “At Home at the Zoo” at an actual zoo, the Safari Farm Petting Zoo in Lake Ariel, on Thursday, Aug. 5 through Saturday, Aug. 7. Featuring a trio of adult actors, the play focuses on Peter, his life with his wife, and his bizarre encounter with Jerry on a bench near the local zoo.

Erin McLaughlin of Dallas is making her directorial debut with the play.

“Directing is so much different than my past stage experience as an actor because giving the actors feedback and direction is much more difficult than being given direction myself,” said McLaughlin, who recently played Mimi in Act Out’s production of “Rent: School Edition” in Dunmore.

“I’m very happy to have a wonderful cast to work with, and I am thankful I took the challenge and stepped outside my comfort zone.”

Justin Topa of Scranton, who plays Jerry, explained that the themes in “At Home at the Zoo” are salient to society’s current climate.

“This show delivers the humor we deserve on the surface, but really, it’s a monument to much of the themes that have affected so many this year – loneliness, isolation, and disparity.”

In actuality, “At Home at the Zoo” is two distinct one-act plays: “Homelife” and “The Zoo Story.” “Zoo Story” was written in 1958 and is Albee’s first play, said Dan Pittman, Act Out Theatre Group’s owner and artistic director. “Homelife” was written in 2004 as a prequel to give a more substantive backstory to Peter.

“Taking the production on the road from Act Out’s home in Dunmore to the Lake Ariel petting zoo served a dual purpose,” Pittman noted.

“Not only does it add a bit of fun and uniqueness to a production that mentions a zoo in its title, but it provides an added level of comfort for those who may not yet want to venture indoors for live theater.”

The outdoor productions will take place at 7 p.m. on Aug. 5 through Aug. 7 at Safari Farm Petting Zoo (1675 Mt. Cobb Rd., Lake Ariel). Parental discretion is advised. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased online at or at the door. The production will continue under cover at the petting zoo in case of rain.

Tony Thomas and Kate Weston, both of Wilkes-Barre, rehearse the first act of ‘At Home at the Zoo.’