Edward Albee's The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?
When Edward Albee (of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf fame) was asked what his plays were “about”, he would often reply: “two hours”. Penned in the year 2000, his play The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? – in a new co-production by Sydney Theatre Company and State Theatre Company of South Australia directed by Mitchell Butel – is technically about a man who falls in love with a goat named Sylvia, much to his upper-middle-class-perfect wife and son’s dismay. But it’s “about” a lot more than that. Everything is off-kilter as soon as the curtain rises on Jeremy Allen’s set – a diagonal cross-section of a tasteful American home filled with expensive mid-century furniture and curated, fragile art objects. On the left sits a green velvet couch and on the right, there’s a brown rattan dining set. There are pristine (and probably disused) books lining floating wooden shelves on grey concrete walls. The focal point at the centre of the stage is not the back wall, but an entryway that leads to the front door; all lines pointing to escape. A belly-hurting, brain-tickling reminder of the ridiculousness of the rules we make for ourselves Stevie (Claudia Karvan) and Martin Gray (Nathan Page) are the perfect couple, or so they keep telling each other. Their only problem in their perfect life (so far) is that their son Billy is gay, which is just a phase, or so they keep telling each other. Everything’s a witty joke to these two exemplary left-leaning Americans, including Martin’s initial confession