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Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for Theater

Occasionally, I've brought you pictures from a play I attended. I went to this one Thursday evening, but saved it for "T" day. I'm going to try to do a fair critique of this.

The name of the play is Crime on Goat Island, by Ugo Betti. This play isn't performed in the United States very often. In fact I'd never heard of it before, let alone seen it, but it was written in 1946.

There were some good things about this production, and some not-so-good things. But first, the plot.

The play is set post WWII on Goat Island, off the coast of Italy. There are four main characters. Three women live in the house on Goat Island. Agata is the widow of a soldier and Pia is the sister of that man. Silvia is Agata's daughter. At the beginning of the play, a man, Edoardo, comes to their house. He claims to have known Agata's husband, and to have been with him when he died.

To cut to the plot, within hours, Edoardo has begun to seduce the three women, and over the course of the next two months becomes the lover of all of them.

What should the women do?

In this scene, Edoardo has just arrived, and Pia and Silvia find him quite enchanting. Agata is not so sure.

Crime on Goat Island

Near the middle of the play, Silvia implores her mother to send Edoardo away because he is tearing them apart.

Crime on Goat Island

In Act 2, things are going downhill. The women are aware of each other's involvement with Edoardo, but they are torn about what they should do, or want to do.

Crime on Goat Island

I read online that the play has themes of good and evil, and redemption.

This production was done by the local community college. As a learning experience for theater students, this was probably an excellent choice for a play. However, for public consumption, they needed to do some additional education. There was no synopsis of the play in the program. The publicity didn't really make it clear that it was a serious play, and not suitable for children.

Whenever I go to a play I'm not familiar with I always have to decide if I'm going to read the play first, or at least a synopsis, or just attend "cold." I decided to not study this play in advance, and it was the wrong choice.

For one thing, the director decided to have the actors speak with an Italian accent. It was very difficult to understand some of the dialog, and I know I missed some important lines.

For sure, if I want to have any idea what this play is trying to say about redemption, I'll need to read it.

The island itself was supposed to be a symbol of the struggle. The goats were necessary for the economy, but they ate all the vegetation and removed all the beauty. Twice, real goats were brought on stage. Because the audience didn't understand that the play was a serious drama, the live goats were only a distraction as people did the "oh they are so cute" thing.

I'm glad I went. I became acquainted with a different play. The set was good, the costumes were excellent. The acting was believable-- all young people (one minor role was played by an older adult), and two of them had to portray older characters. That's saying something because the first act has a lot of long, interminable speeches by Edoardo.

In short, it's probably a difficult play for American audiences to appreciate.

See Flowers for Algernon
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jeanlivingsimple said...

An excellent (honest) review!
Now how did it end???

Pish Posh said...

I wish I had more theater in my community to visit!!

Ferd said...

Fun A - Z Challenge!

I haven't been by in a while. I came to wish you a Happy Birthday! :-)

Lynn Proctor said...

no it certainly is not for children--but it sounds very beautiful--i have never heard of it--thanks for reviewing it

Anonymous said...

'Crime on Goat Island, by Ugo Betti.' - My goodness! The name itself would have had me hooked.
Goat Island sounds like a backdrop to a comedy festival.

I guess we learn something new everyday, because I am suprised to note that the plot is actually very involved, and complicated, and if there is anything that I enjoy more than a comedy it is an exceptional drama, or story aout struggle, and growth and determination :)

Thanks for sharing! Greatly appreciated :)

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