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‘Goat’ challenges theaters, theatergoers

By | 2018-01-16T15:31:49-05:00 April 30th, 2009|Entertainment|

More than a living room is wrecked in The Abreact’s current production of “The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?” by Edward Albee. So too are the lives of acclaimed architect Martin Gray, his devoted wife Stevie and their 17-year-old son Billy – all because of Martin’s heretofore secret six-month love affair with Sylvia.
Who just so happens to be a goat. Yes, a goat.
Albee, a three-time Pulitzer Prize recipient, is best known for his witty, yet searing examination of modern life – especially its darker corners that polite society finds uncomfortable to discuss in public. That surely describes “The Goat” – an absurdist family drama that tackles taboos such as bestiality, homosexuality, incest and infidelity, which might explain why few theaters (especially those that depend on subscription sales) risk staging it.
And that’s a shame, really, since Albee hands us an opportunity to do some collective soul-searching – about relationships (familial and otherwise), a liberal society and tolerance (or lack thereof) – wrapped in a slice of theatricality that jumps from intellectual to emotional and back again in a heartbeat. And the laughs are plenty, even when doing so makes you somewhat or very uncomfortable.
In fact, there are several such moments in director Chris Korte’s near-flawless production, thanks to the solid delivery of Albee’s keen perception of human nature at its simultaneous best and worst.
That’s particular evident in Linda Rabin Hammell’s riveting performance as Stevie, who finds the humor in even the darkest of moments. And she nails two important monologues in which she rides a roller coaster of emotions.
Dan Jaroslaw especially excels when the befuddled Martin is reacting to the actions around him; his expressive face says far more than plain words ever could.
And Josh Campos, as Billy, drops his many f-bombs with surgical precision.
Supporting actor Alan Madlane is fine as Martin’s best friend Ross. And local resale shops will be sad to see this show close May 23.

‘The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?’
The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?) : The Abreact at The Gryphon Theatre, 2040 Park Ave, Detroit. May 2-3, 8, 15-17 & 22-23. $15. 313-485-0217.

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