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Triple Pulitzer Prize winner, Edward Albee’s acclaimed and provocative play, The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?, comes to the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio, from 24 April to 18 May, at 7.30pm nightly, with Saturday matinees at 3pm.

Fleur du Cap Best New Director award-winner Mdu Kweyama (Reza de Wet’s Missing, Woza Albert!), takes the reigns as director, featuring a stellar cast headlined by Lionel Newton and Jennifer Steyn, with Paul Savage and Sihle Mnqwazana.

Newton (The Miser, The Well Being) tackles the complex role of middle-aged architect, Martin, with Steyn (The Inconvenience of Wings, A Doll’s House), in the role of stay-at-home wife, Stevie. Sihle Mnqwazana (The Fall, Black Dog/Inj’ emnyama), plays the gay son, Billy, with Paul Savage (Kaapse Stories, Kat and the Kings) as Martin’s best friend, Ross.

The powerful four-hander won the 2002 Tony Award for Best Play, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play and was also a finalist for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

This modern classic challenges taboos and moral judgement. Known for works such as Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Albee’s marital drama shows a family in crisis as their lives spiral out of control and deteriorates, when the patriarch falls in love with a goat. Cleverly written with grammatical and language games amid existential chaos, Albee tackles the theme of tragedy, while dealing with issues of the family, social taboo and vengeance. Albee’s work typically criticised the American dream.

The New York Times, wrote that Edward Albee is “widely considered to be the foremost American playwright of his generation.” Some of his other works include The Zoo Story, The Sandbox and A Delicate Balance. Three of his plays won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and two of his other works won Tony Awards for Best Play. He died in 2018, at the age of 88.

He wrote The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? in 2000 and the play premiered on Broadway, New York, in March 2002. It was so successful that it closed nine months later, in December. The well-known cast featured in the production included Bill Pullman and Mercedes Ruehl, and later, Bill Irwin and Sally Field, took on the roles of the torn-apart couple. In London, on the West End, Jonathan Pryce and Kate Fahy played parents to Eddie Redmayne, as Billy. A new production in 2017 starred Damian Lewis and Sophie Okonedo, as Martin and Stevie.

“Tackling a play by one of America’s greatest modern playwrights, Edward Albee – is quite a daunting task,” says director Kweyama. “The play’s phenomenal success and the celebrated actors who have performed in it since it was first staged some 17 years ago, are testament to its brilliance. The deeper I dig and as we unpack the work in rehearsals, the more I have come to realise just how complex and clever the writing really is. I am grateful to be working with a formidable cast and team to help create a powerful piece of theatre.”

Patrick Curtis is responsible for set and lighting design, costumes by Marisa Steenkamp and music by Robert Jeffery. There is an age restriction of 16 years and parental guidance is advised.

Edward Albee’s The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? runs at the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio, from 24 April to 18 May, at 7.30pm nightly, with Saturday matinees at 3pm. Ticket prices range from R120 (for block bookings of 10 or more and for the Early Bird special which is only valid until 31 March), to R160 and R180. Booking is through Webtickets or selected Pick n Pay stores.

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