The Goat by Edward Albee
OSO Arts Centre
OSO Arts Centre - 30 March 2019
Review by Celia Bard
I first became aware of this question ‘Who is Silvia? What is she’ in Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona. Edward Albee provides us with his own 21st century account of the same question. Arguably Albee has something else in common with Shakespeare other than his use of the same question and that is his interest in bestiality, but with a difference.
In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Titania falls in love with Bottom after his head metamorphoses into that of a donkey’s. In the play The Goat, our protagonist, falls in love with a goat, but that is where the similarity ends. Shakespeare’s play is a comedy, and it is fanciful. Although there is a great deal of comedy in The Goat, it is not fanciful. Martin’s relationship falls into the arena of sexual deviance, though the audience is spared the actual physical sordid details of intercourse. The play tears apart any semblance of social norms relating to an extra-marital affair. The audience is asked to consider the sexual relationship between a man and a goat, a hard task for any audience.
The setting of the play lulls the audience into a false sense of security. The trendy black chairs suggest that we are in the living room of an educated, comfortable, middle-class, family. Ostensibly Martin, played by Matthew Ellison, and Stevie, played by Lotte Fletcher-Jonk, are a happily married couple. They are casual in conversation, joke a lot and their sex life is good, judged by their conversation, Stevie’s flirtatious behaviour and sexual innuendos in the opening scene. However, Martin appears ill at ease and forgetful. Then he casually comments that he is having an affair with a goat! The audience, like Stevie, can be forgiven for thinking that this is light-hearted banter. She laughs aloud and jokingly responds that she off to the pet shop to buy some food … …
Read Celia Bard’s full review at www.markaspen.com/2019/03/31/goat
Photography courtesy of Arena Theatre, Constellations, 2017
Caprine Caprice The Goat