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Road Less Traveled Packs a Punch with "The Goat"

A Spree arts writer takes an adventure in Buffalo theater--and it's well worth the trip.

Maggie Zindle as loving wife Stevie in RLTP's production of Albee's "The Goat"

courtesy of RLTP, by Magezi Photography

Road Less Traveled Productions’ current show, The Goat; or Who Is Sylvia? by Edward Albee, one of America’s pre-eminent living playwrights, is closing this weekend—you’ve got three more days to see one of the season’s most challenging and well-produced shows.

The play, which is showing through Saturday, May 22, is an absurdist fable dealing with, in part, what happens when love—in all its definitions—confronts the unimaginable yet undeniable.

It brings together a strong selection of talent—Derek Campbell is a fine director, and handing the reins to him to steer this rattling domestic tale was a wise choice by RLTP artistic director Scott Behrend.

It’s about as simple as it sounds. A husband. A wife. A friend. A son. A goat. All the loves are there, and yet they are not.

As the play opens, we see a classic, classy home, tastefully furnished with modern-style acoutrements, a bar, lovely decorative items, books and awards, even flowers. A loving, helpful wife. A successful absent-minded husband. A typical happy middle-life marriage? It doesn’t take long to realize something is wrong. And it goes from unsettling to mind-bending in short order.

John Fredo and Maggie Zindle give intense performances, as husband and wife Martin and Stevie. Martin, an award-winning architect, is getting ready for a press interview, and he can’t seem to remember anything. Really. Stevie, ever helpful, reminds him of his best friend’s son’s name, and heads out to run her errands. Nothing will ever be the same, Albee seems to be telling us. It never can.

As it turns out, there is no easy way for Martin to break the news of his new love to his wife, but the pressure is starting to get to him. Is the father the backbone of the family, or the weak link? Another meaning of the play, as trickster Albee has been quoted saying, is that the “goat” is the scapegoat, the butt, the one to blame ...

Another great effect is gained by the presentation of the play with no intermission. No chance for you to escape, or ponder what might happen next. You are just hit with it. And it will probably remain with you for a good while afterwards, too.

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