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The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? by Edward Albee Review

Title: The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? Author: Edward Albee

First published January 1, 2003

110 pages, Paperback

ISBN: 9781585676477 (ISBN10: 1585676470)

Rating: 3.93


Award-winning novel, Three-Day Town, follows the story of Judge Deborah Knott and Sheriff’s Deputy Dwight Bryant as they embark on a long-awaited honeymoon to New York City. Despite the chilly January weather, they settle into an Upper West Side apartment, courtesy of Dwight’s sister-in-law.

However, things take a dark turn when Deborah is tasked with delivering a package to Lieutenant Sigrid Harald of the NYPD, only to find it missing upon Sigrid’s arrival. To make matters worse, the building’s superintendent is found murdered.

Now, in the midst of their romantic getaway, Deborah and Dwight must join forces with Lt. Harald to catch the killer before they can strike again.

About the Author

Edward Franklin Albee III is best known as an American playwright who created works such as Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Zoo Story, The Sandbox, and The American Dream. His plays are highly regarded for their meticulous crafting and unsympathetic portrayal of modern society.

Albee’s early works revealed his mastery of the Theatre of the Absurd, which was popular among European playwrights like Jean Genet, Samuel Beckett, and Eugène Ionesco. Albee’s daring combination of theatricalism and acerbic dialogue was a significant influence on younger American playwrights, including Pulitzer Prize-winner Paula Vogel, who credited him with revitalizing American theater in the post-war era of the 1960s.

What sets Albee apart from his contemporaries is his commitment to evolving his voice, demonstrated in later productions like or (2000).

According to Albee himself, his work aimed to scrutinize the American Scene and expose the substitution of artificial values for real ones. He also condemned complacency, cruelty, emasculation, vacuity, and challenged the notion that everything was perfect in the United States.

Editoral Review

Edward Albees play, The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? is a thought-provoking and poignant exploration of human relationships, taboo subjects, and societal norms.

Albee, known for his absurdist and controversial plays, presents his audience with yet another unsettling yet captivating story that will leave them questioning the boundaries of love, fidelity, and morality. The play follows the story of Martin, a successful architect, who has been happily married to his wife, Stevie, for over twenty years.

However, his life takes a dramatic turn when he confesses to his best friend and television host, Ross, that he has fallen in love with a goat named Sylvia. As Martin struggles to come to terms with his feelings, his family and friends grapple with their own moral compass and turn against him, leading to devastating consequences.

Albees writing style is striking, with witty dialogues and vivid imagery that add depth to each character and scene. His characters are fully developed, with distinct personalities and relatable human flaws that make them vulnerable and, at times, unsettling.

The pacing of the play is consistent, building up suspense, and drawing audiences into the emotional turmoil faced by each character.

Despite the plays absurdity, Albee masterfully drives home the theme of loves capriciousness, showcasing how societal norms constrain us, and our individual actions can transmute these norms.

Through the complex intersection of love, societal expectations, and individuality, the play seems to pose a challenge to the audiences beliefs, asking them to consider what they might actually do in the face of a seemingly simple and typical love triangle. Though the themes and undertones of the play are powerful, it is not without its flaws.

As is typical for many of Albees works, the play is heavily steeped in intellectualism, making the story and its characters occasionally difficult to comprehend. Some audiences may find the dialogue stilted, and the play may require multiple viewings or careful reflection to fully understand.

Overall, The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? is a captivating and thought-provoking play that is genuinely innovative, particularly in its implementation of taboo subjects.

Albees writing style is impressive, the character development is superb, and the setting is realistic yet surreal. The play is well worth the initial investment, and the challenges it poses are substantial and mandatory for anyone looking to engage with questions of deeply held societal convictions.

If you are a fan of absurdist theater or are open to challenging questions of morality, love, and societal norms, The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? is a must-see.

This play is likely to leave you reeling, questioning your core beliefs and leaving you pondering the ambiguities of love and human nature. For those willing to grapple with intellectual writing, the experience will be equally rewarding and memorable.

Rating: 4.5/5