Posted by Tom French |

Goats

I went and saw the Belvoir production of Edward Albee's "The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?" tonight. It was probably one of the most bizarre, unpleasant and disturblingly funny theatre experiences I have ever had. I liked it.

The play is about a family who have to deal with the revelation that their billiant and successful husband/father is having an affair with a goat. The play is so intense, it makes lots of shocking beastiality jokes, and it makes you watch the whole thing feeling horrified. You're laughing but there's no laughter in you. You watch as each character gets torn apart, their worlds come down, and you can find no way that the things are going to end well.

It was interesting that when the play finished some people just sat there looking shell shocked, most people seemed to look at each other and laugh (as we did), because there's nothing else you can do.

Albee seemed to be forcing us to ask questions about what limits there should be on our moral freedoms. Are our own subjective ideas about morality tearing apart what is most sacred? Does the idea that anything goes, "do what's good for you", really work? As one character put it: "What can get I get away with? That's what it's about for you? What I can get away with? I thought it was about love and loss."*

It was a good play. I'd see it again actually to try and figure it out better. Maybe I should buy the script. There were some fabulous lines. And in the end I was left to walk away trying to figure us all out.

"'You like the taste of blood,' he says. The boy shrugs. 'A poet's work,' he answers. 'To name the unnamable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguements, shape the world and stop it from going to sleep.'" - Salman Rushdie - "The Satanic Verses"

*Perhaps not quite that, but close

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