Edward Albee The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? / the production I saw was at the Davidson/Valentini Theater of the Los Angeles LGBT Center, on Sunday, October 12, 2014
In the domestic banter of the play’s first few moments, indeed, the audience might almost imagine that they have accidently wandered into a play, as The New York Times Ben Brantley suggested in his 2002 review, written by one of the most beloved playwrights of these ruling class member’s parents, Neil Simon. But we also immediately sense something is amiss, as if the jokes are there but the actors keep missing their lines. In fact, Martin not only seems absent-minded, but is fearful that he is developing Alzheimer’s Disease. About to meet with his old friend, Ross, for an interview celebrating Martin’s 50th birthday and his two recent achievements, he cannot remember, for example, the name of Ross’s grown son. He enters the room but forgets for what he has been searching. Stevie jokingly reassures him, but soon their “banter” gradually is transformed into a kind of comic inspired sketch about sexual infidelity, ending with Martin’s unexpected and somewhat inappropriate quip that he is seeing someone named Sylvia and that she is a goat. If the audience laughs at Stevie’s comeback—I’ll stop at the feed store on the way home—it is an uneasy twitter since by the very title of the play we already know that Martin is telling her the truth: that, as a modern-day Zeus, he has fallen in love with a being outside of his own kind.