And Albee's writing throughout is like deliciously toxic candy, filled with sardonic repetitions and lots of verbal surprises. A baby is repeatedly mispronounced by everyone as a "bumble" of joy; Mommy nastily refers to sex with Daddy as "bumping your uglies."

And Grandma's numerous pronouncements about the elderly are a string of gems. "Old people have a right to talk to themselves," as she lays it out for Mommy and Daddy. "It doesn't hurt the gums, and it's comforting."

THE ZOO STORY and THE AMERICAN DREAM | by Edward Albee | Directed by William Steele | Produced by the University of Southern Maine Department of Theater, at the Portland Stage Company Studio Theater | through February 10 | 207.780.5151

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  Topics: Theater , Edward Albee, The American Dream, USM
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