《山羊》劇本閱後感(二)

The Goat by Edward Albee is a very powerful and compelling play, one which addresses themes such as bestiality, homosexuality, marriage values etc. from a modern point of view.  Martin, a fifty year old architect who falls in love with a goat, considers his actions as spiritual and pure in nature.  His ‘love’ for the goat (whom he names Sylvia), destroys his marriage and eventually drives his wife Stevie to insanity, and the play ends tragically with Sylvia killing the goat.  Martin’s homosexual son Billy, is also deeply wounded by the revelation, and realizes that his perfect family life is forever destroyed.  I would think one of the most difficult challenges with the play is the emotional intensity of the characters.  Much of Act II is dominated by the conflict between Martin and Stevie, in which Martin talks about his ‘goat affair’ in detail, while Stevie tries to maintain her cool yet occasionally loses control.  There are many stage directions which suggest Stevie to start breaking things, especially when Martin mentions bestiality acts with different animals.  If the actors couldn’t become deeply and emotionally involved within the character’s feelings and situations, it would be impossible to perform such a disastrous play.

Another challenge with this play is the character’s history and relationships.  Much of the dialogue between them suggests that they have a very extensive and solid history, which must be explored in order to establish relationships between them.  It seems that Martin and Stevie do genuinely love each other very much, and the kind of family life would have to be explored in order to contrast with the play’s disastrous outcome.  Billy’s ‘perfect lifestyle’ would also have to be explored, probably through vigorous character development and improvisation.  The issue with bestiality would also have to be researched and understood thoroughly, since there aren’t many plays (as far as I know) that address this.  It would be reasonable to assume that bestiality, although still a strong social taboo, has become more widely known with the development of niche pornography.  It wouldn’t be difficult to even watch videos of bestiality on the Internet, as I definitely would if I were to be involved with this production.  Extensive research on the groups such as the one Martin mentions in the play (if they really exist) would definitely need to be explored, and most importantly the actors must comprehend the psychological significance of bestiality to those people.

Lastly, I think the most difficult and challenging thing with this play is its philosophical implications.  I would say that ultimately, Martin is the truly spiritual one, since he is not bounded by society’s standards but recognizes his own actions from a spiritual point of view.  His judgment doesn’t come from society, and he himself expressively believes that he has a connection with the goat.  In so many ways, I agree with Martin, since I believe that love shouldn’t be limited in any way.  If history has proven that love isn’t bounded by race, age, social background, gender etc., then why should it be limited within the human species?  The problem, of course, comes from what you do with that love, which I believe is what Stevie is extremely concerned about.  I believe her reaction represents the majority, feeling absolutely disgusted by her husband’s actions.  Controversially, I have to admit that I would also completely lament with Stevie’s reactions.  If I were to discover that my partner has had sex with a goat, I would probably react the same way.  The controversy stems from the fact that although I would agree with Martin’s argument, I would feel equally sickened by his actions.  This is probably what Edward Albee wanted the audience to feel – pulling them in both directions and questioning what makes us human.  The actors involved in this production would definitely have to connect themselves spiritually, and ask themselves where they stand on such important issues.  I believe we all essentially feel empty at times and yearn for a special connection like Martin, yet we all feel obliged to more or less obey with the society’s standards in our everyday lives like Stevie.

趙之維
演藝學院戲劇學院學生



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