I always loved this Absurdist tragedy, since I first read it in drama school. I thought ‘Wow what a way of looking at love and society.’
This play is about a happily married couple in their fifties that is destroyed when the husband falls in love in very unusual manner-I trying not to give to much away; but the title is very illuminating.
Albee uses this strange love affair to explore the conventions around love and asks if love is love? What does it matter who or what we fall in with? The play questions the conviction of liberal minded and hints that everyone is ruled by the conventions set out by society on matter what side of spectrum your beliefs hail from. Maybe… there are limits in liberalism.
‘Notes towards a definition of Tragedy’ is the subtitle of the play and it is quite important in terms what the audiences sees and their reaction to it. I don’t want to dwell on Aristotle’s Poetics but this play is definitely tragedy. It has a beginning, middle and end; plus a tragic hero is who dealing with issues that is beyond his control (failing in love with a goat) and spurs others to end problems created by the tragic hero’s weakness (wife killing the goat/Sylvia). The audience is left feeling great pity about what we have seen and I definitely felt that by the end of 1hr and 40mins.
Although I loved Edward Albee, I really wanted to see Damien Lewis and Sophie Okonedo play together. For me, I get really excited about the type of actors paired together because if you get the cast right, the rest of the production will fall into place (I’m thinking in terms of theatre). They did not disappoint, both were amazing. Pitch perfect attention to text bought out the humour in the language. Their portrayal of a marriage at mid life was so funny and touching, it made the conclusion so hard to watch.
This was a passionate and poignant production that asks so many questions about the state of liberalism today or; you should go and see it because Damien Lewis is in it. Please note: Sophie Okonedo was aaaaamazing in this play, but she is always amazing.
The play on until 24th June at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in London