Monday, March 14, 2005

"The Goat, Or Who Is Sylvia?" 

Last Saturday night Michele, Sarah, and I saw "The Goat" at Arena stage. Apparently so too did Peter Marks of the Washington Post. The actors were all extremely good and were able to generate sympathy for the main character who has a strong marriage and a successful career and who falls in love with - you got it- a goat. Much of it was very funny.

The play by Edward Albee, author of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf," is my daughter Amy's favorite. She saw it a couple of times when it was on Broadway. I do not share her views.

The piece expresses the idea that love is a good in and of itself. It doesn't matter if a man is in love with a woman or another man or a dog or a cat. It is the feelings of one towards another that is important. Therefore, it is no coincidence that the main character's son is gay. We are led by the parents to understand that they have accepted the fact that their child is a homosexual. We are then asked to make the intellectual leap to recognize the value in the relationship that the main character has with an animal. It is not an easy night at the theater.

The playwright does not understand the fundamentals behind relationships. Physical attraction between two people is often a start. But if a couple is to stay together beyond a one night stand then there has to be much more. People stay with one another because they share common values and a similar view of the world. They want to share their future together because they both envision the future to look a particular way. They need to stay together because apart they may not be able to reach their goals. It is also good to have that person with you for support when things don't go exactly as planned. And it is fantastic to share the things that go right, especially with the one who you planned the occasion with when it was only a dream.

Animals cannot share the same vision of the future with man because they lack the ability to reason. They can think only of now. They have no capability to reach opinions on matters such as ethics or the nature of the universe. Furthermore, an intimate physical relationship with an animal cannot be rewarding (or normal) because there are no common terms in which it can be experienced.

Mr. Albee inserted into the play comments regarding the fact that the main character was good because he is a Democrat. Liberals often confuse the differences between man and animals and other forms of life, and will treat them all as if they are on the same hierarchical level. That is why you will often see private property confiscated by government entities or a project stopped because someone has found one living being which is a member of a rare species that has taken up residence on a site.

(It was good to write about art for a change. And I'll have plenty of other opportunities coming up. Next week brings another visit to New York City complete with tickets to "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," a trip to the new Museum of Modern Art, and a walking tour of places Ayn Rand frequented. There will be much to discuss.)

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