The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?
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Three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Edward Albee's most provocative, daring, and controversial play since Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Goat won four major awards for best new play of the year (Tony, New York Drama Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle). In the play, Martin, a successful architect who has just turned fifty, leads an ostensibly ideal life with his loving wife and gay teenage son. But when he confides to his best friend that he is also in love with a goat (named Sylvia), he sets in motion events that will destroy his family and leave his life in tatters.
The playwright himself describes it this way: Every civilization sets quite arbitrary limits to its tolerances. The play is about a family that is deeply rocked by an unimaginable event and they solve that problem. It is my hope that people will think afresh about whether or not all the values they hold are valid.
Really? Crazy? BILLY Sure. Good private school. All guys, too; thanks. I mean, it was all about what you’d expect. Maybe everybody left all the juicy stuff out, or they didn’t know it. (Picks up a shard) Where does this go? MARTIN Trash, I suspect. BILLY (Looks at it) Too bad. (Drops it) So, it was all pretty dull, pretty much what you’d expect. MARTIN I take it you haven’t gotten up and spoken yet. BILLY (Noncommittal) Nope. Haven’t. (Waits a little) You know what I’m going to
woman, this … dominatrix … who smells funny … MARTIN How could I be seeing her—whoever she is? There’s nothing on the card. Dominatrix!? STEVIE Why not? MARTIN Maybe you know things I don’t. STEVIE Maybe. MARTIN And I probably know one or two things you don’t. STEVIE It evens out. MARTIN Yes. Do I look OK? STEVIE For the TV? Yes. MARTIN Yes. (Turning) Really? STEVIE I said: yes; fine. (Indicates) The old prep school tie? MARTIN (Genuine, as he looks) Is it? Oh,
Ross … ROSS (Waving BILLY off; to MARTIN) Do you know there are prison terms for this? Some states they kill you for it? Do you know what they’d do to you. The press? Everybody? Down it all comes—your career; your life … everything. (So cold; so rational) For fucking a goat. (Shakes his head sadly; BILLY is weeping quietly) MARTIN (Long pause) Is that what it is, then? That people will know!? That people will find out!? That I can do whatever I want, and that’s what matters!? That people
loved you … you say. As much as I do. MARTIN (To STEVIE; empty) I’m sorry. (To BILLY; empty) I’m sorry. (Then …) I’m sorry. BILLY (To one, then the other; no reaction from them) Dad? Mom? (Tableau) End
gratifying—not being naked, but … hearing about it—the Prize. ROSS (Exuberant) Weren’t you … thunderstruck!? MARTIN Well, no; they’d hinted at it—the Prize, I mean, and … ROSS (Heavily prompting) But it was pretty wonderful, wasn’t it? MARTIN (Understanding what to say) Yes; yes it was pretty wonderful—is pretty wonderful. ROSS Tell us about The World City. MARTIN Well, you just did: two hundred billion dollars, and all, the wheatfields of Kansas, or whatever … ROSS What an