Here and Now: Falling in love with a goat

Lexy Roy

There are many things that can destroy a marriage, like extramarital affairs or spouses gradually growing apart. And then there’s discovering that your husband has fallen in love … with a goat. Directed by second year theatre graduate student Emily Campbell as part of the department’s collaboration series, Edward Albee’s play “The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?” explores just that: what happens to a happily married couple when one half bestows their emotional – and physical – love on a farm animal?

Riotous, darkly hilarious, shocking and even heartfelt, the production, presented in the Wallis Theater in the Theatre and Interpretation Center, offers a new twist on the popular topic of family drama. What makes it truly a joy, however, is the intimacy, thanks to audience involvement. From the central staging of the living room set that gives one the feeling of being dropped into the room with the characters to the wholly natural acting from the four-person ensemble, we onlookers feel more like close friends of the family who are privy to these absurdly wonderful and terrible moments in the Gray family’s home.

One of the most fascinating aspects of “The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?” isn’t even the dilemma of the successful, loving father and husband who has suddenly turned toward bestiality, but rather the realism and wittiness with which the characters are written and portrayed in confronting it. The four-person cast consists of Christopher Leck and Emily Anderson as the battling husband and wife, Martin and Stevie, David Thomases as their close friend Ross, and Cole Galvin as their teenaged son Billy. Leck and Anderson in particular embody their roles with ease, moving between love and anger, between intellectualism and speechlessness with such believable passion that it feels as though one is, perhaps, secretly seeing a fight in a 30-year-old marriage gone awry.

It isn’t often that one finds lines like, “Women in deep woe often mix their metaphors,” along with the correction of the plural “bimbos” to “bimbi” together in the same play as a serious (and violent) debate about bestiality and marriage, let alone without any change in tone or loss of realism. However, director Campbell and her cast and crew tackle Edward Albee’s play with ease and success. If only every marriage’s dissolution could be this absurdly fun.

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