Los Angeles Theater Preview: THE GOAT, OR WHO IS SYLVIA? (Renberg Theatre)

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by Tony Frankel on September 14, 2014

in Theater-Los Angeles


On the surface, Edward Albee’s The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? is about a middle-aged architect, Martin, who has a zoophilic love affair that threatens to destroy his family and everything he’s worked for, including an international prize for architecture. Look a little deeper, and you’ll see that this extraordinary 2002 tragicomedy isn’t about falling in love with a goat (named Sylvia by Martin). It’s about the inexplicable labyrinth of human sexuality and what constitutes a true, loving family and friendship; it’s about choices we make that seem destined to us by fate, and the ramifications that fate has on the choices we have already made.

Ann Noble, Paul Witten

As if twisting Neil Simon’s nipple, Albee injects his usual existential dialogue into a sit-com with a not-for-prime-time premise. But behind the mask of comedy, something else is going on. It turns out that Albee is also delivering an essay on the nature of tragedy (the term comes from a Greek word meaning “goat song”): Martin is a contemporary version of Oedipus, a hero of great proportion who—to paraphrase Chaucer’s description of tragedy—”is fallen out of high degree into mystery and endeth wretchedly.” Albee’s play suggests that the human experience of tragedy is the arrival of something unacceptable that forces us to face the essential mystery of life and death.

Spencer Morrissey, Paul Witten

The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center is set to present this terrific work beginning September 19 (after two preview performances). Directed by Ken Sawyer, the production will run through November 23. The cast will feature Matt Kirkwood, Spencer Morrissey, Ann Noble, and Paul Witten. Jon Imparato always produces extraordinarily professional productions—intimate theater at its best.

Paul Witten & Matt Kirkwood

Imparato wrote, “I’ve been haunted by this play ever since I saw it on Broadway more than a decade ago. It is without question Albee’s most daring, brave, and thought-provoking work. We are honored that Mr. Albee has allowed the Center to produce this play.”

Spencer Morrissey, Paul Witten, Ann Noblephotos by Michael Lamont

The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?
Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center
L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s Renberg Theatre
The Village at Ed Gould Plaza, 1125 N. McCadden
Fri and Sat at 8; Sun at 7
scheduled to end on November 23, 2014
for tickets, call (323) 860-7300
or visit www.lalgbtcenter.org/theatre

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