The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?
by Edward Albee
directed by Alan Patrick Kenny
New Stage Collective
If you're looking for an evening of light-hearted entertainment, don't choose The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?, Edward Albee's Tony Award winning play getting its regional premiere by New Stage Collective (NSC) -- which happens to be debuting its new theater space at 1140 Main Street in Over-the-Rhine (OTR) with this production. On the other hand, if you want to see a superbly acted, searing drama that will remain with you for weeks and months, you should call for tickets right away.
Taking on this challenging script demonstrates the fearlessness of director Alan Patrick Kenny, the force behind NSC. For the five-year-old group's inaugural production in its first permanent home, he has transformed the exposed brick walls and newly refinished floors into a space that convincingly becomes Martin and Stevie's upscale, contemporary home -- perhaps an urban loft, with windows overlooking an urban neighborhood.
Kenny sought strong actors for the play's four roles and found them. Albee's play requires actors who can perform this daunting material with abandon. The agonizing argument of revelation between Martin and Stevie -- she insists he tell her how he could have become enamored of a barn animal, then berates him for his honesty, while he fails to understand her irrational dismay -- is one of the most horrendous and convincing I have ever seen onstage. It certainly dismissed any initial concern that these actors might not connect in a way that would powerfully drive home this show's terrifying and discomfiting message.
But it rings true, especially in this electrifying production. Bravo to New Stage, to Alan Kenny and his cast. This is an auspicious debut with promise of more to come. Grade: A
“Well. WOW. New Stage Collective is looking very much like a theater company to be reckoned with as it debuts in its new home on Main Street with the regional premiere of Edward Albee’s ‘The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?’
‘The Goat’ should shoot to the top of your must-see list. It’s the kind of visceral high wire act local audiences long for and don’t get enough of - and because Cincinnati Shakespeare artistic director Brian Isaac Phillips gives the best performance I’ve seen from him, Amy Warner is gripping, and the new space is young and hip and promises to be destination theater.
‘The Goat is a gutsy choice for a debut, because the degree of difficulty, for actors and audience, is extraordinary. Good for Alan Patrick Kenny for recognizing ‘The Goat’ for a great and shattering contemporary tragedy that heaves us out of our comfort zones.”
Cincinnati Acclaim Awards:
-Season’s Best Non-Equity Play
-Outstanding Lead Performance to Brian Isaac Phillips as Martin
-Outstanding Lead Performance to Amy Warner as Stevie
Cincinnati Entertainment Awards:
Cincinnati Entertainment Award Nominations:
-Oustanding Local Premiere
-Local Actress in Leading Role in a Play to Amy Warner as Stevie
-Local Actor in a Leading Role in a Play to Brian Isaac Phillips as Martin
-Ensemble Acting Performance