Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Edward Albee's The Goat

“Did someone walk out?” asked Michael Caven, with something that looked a tad like glee tugging about his lips. The director is quizzing the stars of The Goat Or Who is Sylvia, who are on stage again, minutes after finishing tonight’s performance, for a “post-show discussion the play, which concerns a successful architect whose family life is – perhaps understandably – rocked by the revelation that he is having a carnal affair. With a goat.

I’m usually the first scrambling for the exit at the announcement of a post-show talk. Having just given up two hours of my life to a play, it seldom seems that enticing to volunteer for more. But Edward Albee’s bizarre and confrontational 2002 drama, here given a fantastically limpid and extremely funny production by Landmark, is just too overwhelming to leave without a little extra debrief.

As ever, questions were frequently of the “how are you able to be so brilliant?” variety. But also among the mixed bag was a question concerning the numbers of people who had walked out on the show, which, after all, gives Martin (portrayed with vim by Bryan Murray) most of the evening to explain his love for Sylvia, a goat with whom he is experiencing a grand passion. Just the one it seems. “It only opened last night,” came a heckle from the audience.

But it was when one earnest questioner seemed to ask Murray – ever so tactfully – what his sexual experiences with animals might be (bet he didn’t get that at the RSC!) that things turned slightly madder. Murray carefully and rather articulately explained that as he saw it, the relationship with the goat was an image of all those things that our society finds beyond the pale. “And,” piped up Phillip O’Sullivan (who plays Martin’s best friend) “he’s not a Method actor…”

Project Space Upstairs, Dublin, May 2005.

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