BWW Review: Rebecca Robinson Delivers Remarkable Performance in Albee's THE GOAT
THE GOAT (or Who Is Sylvia?) is a Tony Award winning play by Edward Albee which opened on Broadway in 2002. It also won the 2002 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play, and was a finalist for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. In it, Albee uses a married couple and their son to give audiences the opportunity to examine and hopefully question their own moral judgments on what society has labeled as taboo.
Martin (Robert Pierson), his wife Stevie (Rebecca Robinson), and their son Billy (Preston Ruess), find their lives crumbling when Martin reveals he has fallen in love with a goat...the Sylvia of the title. Sylvia is a reference to the song "Who is Sylvia?" from Shakespeare's play The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Proteus sings this song, hoping to woo Silvia. It was also referred to in Finding the Sun, a work by Albee from 1982.
On Martin's 50th birthday he and his wife Stevie are preparing to be interviewed for television by their friend Ross (Tim Blackwood). Ross notices that Martin is distracted and cannot seem to remember anything. Ross begins interviewing Martin, but soon becomes frustrated with Martin's inability to concentrate on the interview. Martin reluctantly confides to Ross that he is having an affair with Sylvia, which began during a search for a country home. When Martin hands a photo of Sylvia to Ross, Ross discovers that Sylvia is a goat. Albee subtitled this play as "Notes toward a definition of tragedy." It's interesting to note as well that the original Greek meaning of the word tragedy is "goat-song."
THE GOAT is considered a problem play, which is a form of drama that was part of the realism in the arts movement, dealing with hot button social issues through the verbal exchanges of the characters on stage, representing conflicting points of view in a realistic setting. In THE GOAT, Albee questions a number of issues; however, his chief topics are social morality, taboos, and how social standards and conventions are, by nature, arbitrary.
Director and Co-Scenic Designer Mark Pickell has done a terrific job with this piece. The set is a stunning recreation of a stylish city apartment and he keeps the action moving at a furious pace as the play heads towards it's inevitable heartbreaking conclusion. He also gets some amazing performances out of his four person cast.
Robert Pierson presents us with a Martin that we feel for and makes him a sympathetic character in a moving performance full of layers. As Ross, a somewhat underwritten role, Tim Blackwood give a solid performance. Preston Ruess holds his own with these Austin stage veterans and gives an impressive performance as Billy. It is Rebecca Robinson, however, as Stevie, who gives a remarkable performance full of wit and rage. Robinson won the B. Iden Payne Best Actress award in this role back in 2007 and rules the stage in this new production just as masterfully as she did back then.
THE GOAT is a powerful piece of theatre and this new staging is well worth your time. This is must see theatre, adding another theatrical gem to the already impressive Capital T legacy.
THE GOAT (Or Who Is Sylvia) by Edward Albee
Running Time: One Hour and Forty Minutes with no intermission
Warning: Contains adult language and situations.
THE GOAT produced by Capital T Theatre at Hyde Park Theatre (511 West 43rd Street, Austin, TX, 78751).
Thursdays -Saturdays at 8 pm through September 15th. Tickets $20 and up, available via BuyPlayTix or at the Hyde Park Theatre boxoffice.