Saturday November 1st 2014

“The Goat or,Who Is Sylvia?”

Highly Recommended  Wow! That would have to be the one word description for the sterling production of Edward Albee’s “The Goat or, Who Is Sylvia?” now onstage at The Greenhouse Theater Center on Lincoln Ave. Remy Bumppo Theatre Comany  as part of its mission statement says that they “delight and engage audiences with the emotional and ethical complexities of society through the provocative power of great theatrical language”, in other words “think pieces” and this production under the careful guidance of director James Bohnen, certainly hits the nail on the head! What starts out to be a special evening in the life of  Martin and his wife Stevie ( deliciously played by powerful Nick Sandys and Annabel Armour)- Martin is about to interviewed by his lifelong friend Ross ( deftly handled by Michael Joseph Mitchell) for a TV special. It is Martin’s 50th birthday and he has just won an award and a large contract to design a new project. Everything appears normal and perfect, but as the interview progresses, a secret is revealed by Martin and the entire evening of “perfectness” becomes a modern day Greek Tragedy.

There are many who do not know the story line in total and I prefer not to give it away, so I will generalize in order to make your  viewing this incredibly well done production the theatrical experience that s meant to be. I will tell you that Martin does reveal a love affair to Ross, who as a friend, writes a letter to Stevie in hopes of saving the special love they have. What follows is a major confrontation between Stevie and Martin where all  Hell breaks loose and every emotion that one can imagine comes into play. For an actor, Albee has created some of the best dialogue one can hope for and Sandys and Armour are up to the task of making  these words reach the audience with the intensity that Albee wanted.This is a Tony Award winning play that is very demanding on the four cast members. They all handle it perfectly.

Bohnen’s staging on a marvelous set by Tim Morrison in this very intimate theater truly has the feeling of the audience peeking into the living room and the lives of this family as they struggle to find the meaning of what  has taken place. An event that has shattered what appeared to be a perfect family. This is one that should be on your MUST SEE list, a play that lasts almost two hours without an intermission ( any break would cause havoc with the continuity of the story) and yet feels as if it is far less; no uneasiness from the audience and no looking at their watches. The intensity of this production keeps the audience in full focus and while the story has some tragic elements, there are a great many comic moments, as we find that although we think we can handle anything that life throws our way, we really don’t until it actually does happen.

The little things that make this production as perfect as it is are; the lighting(heather Gilbert), the sound and music composition (Victoria DeIorio) , the costumes(Frances Maggio) and the props ( Nick Heggestad). I will tell you that the props people and the stage manager and her crew have a lot of clean-up at the end of this one,but I would have to say it is a labor of love. “The Goat” will continue at The Greenhouse ( 2257 N. Lincoln Avenue) through  May 8th with performances as follows:

Wednesday through Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. There will be a special Thursday matinee on April 21st at 2 p.m. and an added 2:30 p.m. matinee on Saturday,April 16th following  the Between The Lines discussion included in the special $45 ticket that day.

Ticket prices range from $30-$45 and are available at the box office, by phone at 773-404-7336 or online at www.remybumppo.org

Student tickets are available at $20 ( $15 RUSH) with ID                                                                                 

There is discounted parking at Children’s Memorial Hospital lot, just north of the theater   

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