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4:48 pm - 09.10.05
The Goat or Who Is Sylvia?
This is a review for the play I'm going to see tonight with Susie and her Mom. The actor who plays the gay son, Casey Grimm, I used to hang out with him, so it will be good to see him again.
Micheal Herman is also Susie's boss...oooo, the scandal!

Rep succeeds with Albee's 'Goat'
By Rena Beyer
Special to The Capital Times
September 10, 2005

From the beginning, playwright Edward Albee presents a question.

"The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?" is a play either about a simple goat or a mysterious mistress, a barnyard animal or a kindred soul, a bizarre fetish or a natural love.

The unquestionably controversial and 2000 Tony-winning play by the same man who wrote "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" nearly 40 years earlier is, in Albee's words, "about four human beings and a goat ... and it involves relationships."

It's a fair bet to say most people will find it a little more complex that his summary suggests.

The play opens with playful banter between a successful but aging architect Martin, played by Lee Waldhart, and his wife Stevie, played by Daina Zemliauskas, in their living room as they prepare for a guest.

Soon conversation leads to the question "Who is Sylvia?" The answer leaves Stevie first in disbelief, then in shock, that her husband has fallen in love with a goat.

The question then becomes why, how could he, and what will become of this perfect marriage and family once such irreparable damage has been done?

Stevie and Martin's openly gay son Billy, played by Casey Sean Grimm, whom they both love and accept despite slight disappointment, presents the next, inevitable line of questioning, "How far is too far?"

Without taking a clear side, Albee makes the audience wonder why one "alternative" lifestyle is acceptable while another is so repulsive. On the inside flap of the program, Director Michael Herman wrote, "Why people judge others who are in love has always been beyond me, especially with all the hate we see in the world ... but I wonder if such idealism is a 'slippery slope,' as they say?"

Herman put the same kind of thought into the play, focusing not on the strange nature of Martin's romance with a goat but on the very human relationships between the other characters in the play: Stevie's sense of betrayal that her husband had the same feelings for another as he did for her. Billy's realization that he loves his father despite the betrayal, because Martin has always been a good parent. And friend Ross' (played by Stephen Montagna) frustrated attempts to help Stevie by disclosing Martin's secret, even though it will clearly destroy the family.

The four actors gave exceptional performances, particularly Waldhart, who conveyed Martin's confusion and heartbreak as he struggled to explain his feelings about the goat with his family and friend, knowing they could never understand, accept or forgive such an act. His eyes appeared to water as he watched Stevie's rage eat away at her composure, throwing plates and overturning furniture when she could no longer contain her feelings.

What made the play successful was that the actors portrayed their characters as they might have reacted in a more conventional dispute involving a cheating spouse or fighting parents. Despite the bizarre situation, the emotions were believable.

The cast brought the audience from hysterical laughter to deadening silence throughout the play in front of a nearly sold out theater Friday night.

A goat may have captured Martin's love, but the cast captured the admiration of those who dared to watch.


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