The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?

The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?

The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?
By Edward Albee
Directed by Julia Allardice Gagne
Additional direction by Kevin G. Becker and Seth Kubersky
DiDonna Productions/The Empty Spaces Theatre Co(llaboration)
Starring Marty Stonerock, John DiDonna, Stephen Lima and Steven Fox
Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, Orlando FL

Well. THAT was the most awkward round of applause I’ve ever participated in. Out in the lobby, I chatted with an older couple, he was a medical man who stated with confidence “Syphilis was indigenous to the New World and lived in the guts of the lama, and that’s how the conquistadores brought it to Europe.” What this had to do with this dark and awkward play I can’t say, but it wasn’t like I had anything better to offer. Martin (DiDonna) and Stevie (Stonerock) have 20 years under their belt, he’s a big time architect and she’s s dedicated home maker. When Martin’s old buddy Ross (Lima) drops by to film an interview, Martin is oddly distracted and he eventually confesses to an indiscretion. Had is tryst involved his own species or even his own gender, society would have disapproved but he would have moved on. But Martin’s sin is special, and in some our less (or more) forward thinking states he might assigned a condo on death row. Yes Virginia, that’s not one wisp of double entendre in this title.

With DiDonna and Lima on the program, you know this won’t be any upbeat feel good project. Martin’s wife is as shocked as we all are; after all she thought Martin was exclusive to her all these years. They even have a son Billy, (Steven Fox) he’s gay but that’s just a blip on the radar screen in this crisis. While Martin confessed to Ross it was only under duress – he knew that his actions were despicable to society and his high class life style. Ross then outs him, its one of those letters to Stevie that says “for your own good” but is really a knife in the back of everyone involved. And it’s not like Sylvia would run to the tabloids. Martin’s explanation as to what took him down this rabbit hole is weak – something about Sylvia’s eyes, a friendly nuzzle, a willing compliance. Well, we’ve all been nuzzled by puppies, but that never goes any further than some house breaking and long walks with a plastic bag in hand.

This production wasn’t just powerful, it was stunning. Crockery flies along with vitriol and we question what love means in both a physical and emotion al context. Curiously, the charters spend much of their time correcting each other’s grammar, unmixing their metaphors, and congratulation themselves for outstanding bon mots. Bu on the next level down this story raises the question of just what are proper vs. improper relation. Is serial monogamy less distasteful than adultery? Is sex with plushies less distasteful than bestiality? Homosexuality used to be a hanging crime, now it’s just another trip to the bridal registry. Why not approve of bestiality? And what, exactly is the definition of adultery? Are its boundaries fixed under all circumstance, or should they shift with time and situation? There’s plenty here to chat about post show, but mostly we sat around, stunned. That’s the best word I can muster: stunning.

For more information on Empty Spaces Theater Company, visit http://www.emptyspacestheatre.org

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