The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? – A review

Theater is unique from books or film because it’s necessarily a communal experience. Actors are in the same space as the audience. The story is fleshed out “live”, with no possibility of rewinding or re-reading. We see their breath, we can nearly see their hearts beating up there on stage and they can hear us too, our laughter, our gasps, and, eventually, hopefully, our applause. All of this combines to make theater an experience like no other.

Like our consumption of most art forms, our venture into the theater is, for the most part, about finding some escape, some entertainment, and, at its most sublime, some window into the human condition. Lots of folks really don’t want art to do more than that, don’t demand any more from it or from themselves when consuming it. Edward Albee’s The Goat, or Who is Sylvia, alas, does do more. It’s a window into the human condition alright, but not necessarily one that is very pleasant to see or comfortable to have to think about. It’s a tough play, mostly because you feel pulled, in directions you never would’ve imagined being pulled. The central conceit is a marriage falling apart due to an affair. Not your run-of-the-mill infidelity story, though, as the “other woman” happens to be a goat.

Yes, The Goat is difficult. Damian doesn’t do NOT difficult. I’d argue the easiest thing he’s ever done is Band of Brothers (and even that put him through boot camp :)) The ease of that role came from the fact that he was playing an unequivocal hero, a hero that any and all audiences would and did love. Since the role of Dick Winters, Damian has yet to do anything that easy to read, that black and white, that summarily popular and loved. Instead, he’s chosen difficult roles, each subsequent role more difficult than the last. He’s played a man who rapes his wife, a quirky cop with a fetish for revenge, a man who plans and nearly executes a terrorist attack, a tyrant king, serial executioner of women he purports to love and bends the world’s faith to possess, and, most recently a maniacal capitalist bent on winning at all costs. And here he is playing a goat fucker. Nothing easy about it.

So why would we watch a story whose lead character is a goat fucker?

We know Damian’s expertise in playing moral ambiguity. No wonder at all that he chose this story for his return to the West End. The Goat is a story that turns morality on its head and questions the very idea of why humans must be compelled by morality. Humans hurt each other in countless ways, why are some ways of hurting each other worse than others? In a post-God world, who really decides what is moral or not? And why? Are we moral because of the actual good of it and for the good of each other, or are we moral because it’s just what is expected in polite society? The philosophy featured here is nihilism, but unlike a lot of artistic depictions of nihilism it doesn’t end with the asked and answered question of “What is the point of it all? Nothing.” The Goat is decidedly not a story about nothing.

The story draws us in by traversing the canvas of emotions emanating from friendship, marriage, parenthood. The love in the story is palpable and so is the loss.

Scene One

We know we’re in for dark times by the set decor. We’re in a living room with brick walls all around and ceiling length windows in the back. Through one of the windows we can see a trim little patio and shadows of tree branches. From one of the windows, we can see something that looks like a prehistoric animal carcass. Clearly, it’s meant to be some sort of hipster patio decor, regardless, the sinister nature of the story starts from there. The inside of the room is nice enough, a cheery painting on one wall, a somewhat darker painting on the other. And a smallish grand piano towards the back, which alludes immediately to the homeowners’ financial status as urban upper middle class.

We first meet Stevie, played by Sophie Okonedo, in a light and airy dress, adding some bit of cheeriness to the room with a bouquet of ranunculus. Martin, Stevie’s husband, is being interviewed by his best friend, Ross, about an architectural prize he’s received. Stevie is focused on wanting the room to look right.

Martin, played by Damian, enters with his voice first, shouting a loud distracted “What?” in answer to Stevie asking him a question. He enters the scene continuing this state of distraction, confusion, and forgetfulness. He takes his large slightly crooked horn-rimmed glasses mindlessly on and off his face repeatedly.

You can tell by the way Stevie and Martin dance around and chatter happily that they are very happily married. Their love for each other is unmistakable.

Martin has found two mysterious cards in his jacket and is flummoxed over what they mean. He seems to have lost his mind a bit. He even forgets his best friend’s son’s name. In a moment of closeness, Stevie smells something funny on Martin’s jacket. Then, they start kidding around that the mysterious cards and mysterious smells could mean only one thing: Martin is having an affair. It’s all a joke through the very strong love in the room in these first few moments of the play.

Martin eventually vaguely mentions the name Sylvia. Continuing the joke, he says that Sylvia is a goat. This elicits raucous laughter from Stevie. Then, we get the first big laugh of the play when Stevie leaves the room and Martin says to no one in particular:

You try to tell them; you try to be honest. What do they do? Laugh at you!

Ross, played by Jason Hughes, enters and they exchange history-establishing pleasantries about their merry old time as college room-mates. There’s love here too. We learn that the two men have known each other most of their lives and have shared a lot with each other.

Ross sets up to shoot the interview with Martin. When he’s attaching a microphone to Martin’s shirt, he hears a whooshing sound. Martin quips it must be the Eumenides, which, as it happens, are Greek gods of vengeance. Albee must have put this in there to some end, but with all the other much bigger themes in this play, it’s hard to discern what exactly. Possibly a connection to the element of Greek tragedy in this play. Is Martin getting vengeance on his loved ones? Or is his sin and subsequent confession a way of getting vengeance on himself, a way of punishing himself for what he’s done? Not sure. Anyway, the whooshing sound is actually the dishwasher. 🙂

They proceed to the interview. Martin has won a few prizes and Ross is trying to get him to talk about them. Martin’s mind is still very much elsewhere. It’s fun to see the frustration in both characters, while still sensing their mutual affection. At one point, as Martin is trying to work out an answer for something Ross has asked, he takes off his glasses and absentmindedly tries to get them into his front pocket, missing it repeatedly. This is a little bit of direction that isn’t written in the play, so you can well imagine that either the director or Damian (or both in collaboration) made it up. Whatever the case, it gets a laugh from the audience.

Finally Ross stops the interview and demands to know where Martin’s head is.

Maybe it’s…love or something.

This revelation from Martin sets off the question of an affair. Martin wants to confess, despite himself. He tells Ross that he and Stevie had been looking for a country house, and one day he was out in the country scouting some properties and on the way home he was at a farm stand and turned and:

It was then that I saw her. Just…just looking at me.

Ross imagines a buxom blond farm girl. Martin shuts him up with “oh, you don’t understand” and then repeated with different inflection each time:

Those eyes!

Ross wants more detail. Is it love, is it lust, did you talk to her, are you seeing her, are you fucking her. All questions that Martin considers carefully before answering a sort of “why, yes, it is and I am”. Martin knows that Ross thinks he’s talking about a human woman, and he knows that what he’s describing is not a human woman, but he also knows that the answers he’s giving could very well also apply to what he’s describing. Damian shows the confusion of it all brilliantly. And it’s funny too. Ross finally asks:

Who is Sylvia?

Martin pulls out a folded-up picture from his pocket and hands it to Ross.

Ross: This is Sylvia…who you’re fucking.

Martin: Don’t say that!……Whom.

This bit of grammatical nit-picking gets the biggest laugh yet. Damian did a hilarious delivery, just perfectly timed. Doesn’t sound that funny on paper, but, boy, it was perfect.

Ross is incredulous, of course. And disgusted and he wants Martin to tell Stevie.

Scene Two

A night elapses. We see Martin in a fitful sleep as the walls of the room expand. The secret is out. Both this scene and the next transition with Damian is twisted torment.

Ross has written a letter to Stevie telling her what Martin has done. This scene is all about Stevie’s response and the response of their son Billy. It’s a lot of shock and horror and disgust. Sophie Okonedo is an expansive presence in this scene, playing the physicality with all she’s got. As she rails and flays and expands into the room, Damian’s body becomes more and more contorted and fetal. It’s great physical work by them both.

Stevie says that she assumed it was a joke at first, but then:

I stopped; I stopped laughing. I realized – probably in the way if you suddenly fell off a building—oh, shit, I’ve fallen off a building and I’m going to die; I’m going to go splat on the sidewalk; like that – that it wasn’t a joke at all.

Albee uses a lot of repetition to establish mood and emotional states, but then he pulls out fun analogies like this, the shock of Martin’s secret feeling like falling off a building. Stevie gets another great line:

We prepare for…things, for lessenings, even; inevitable…lessenings, and we think we can handle everything, whatever comes along, but we don’t know, do we!

Loved the word “lessening” here. Stevie describes domesticity well, the lowered expectations that come from settling in. And she describes her love for Martin quite well too:

I fell in love with you? No…I rose into love with you and have….cherished?…you, all these years, been proud of all you’ve done, been happy with our…funny son, been…well, happy. I guess that’s the word. No, I don’t guess; I know. I’ve been happy.

Then the artwork, the pleasant domestic curios all over the room come crashed down. With every detail she drags out of Martin, Stevie lets another object fly around the room.

And even in this whirl of destruction, there’s a laugh or two:

Martin: Are you going to do that with all the furniture?

Stevie: I think so. You may have to help me with some of it.

Stevie proceeds to demand all the awful details.

Epiphany! And when it happens there’s no retreating, no holding back. I put my hands through the wires of the fence and she came toward me, slipped her face between my hands, brought her nose to mine at the wires and…and nuzzled.

As Martin says these words, Damian goes through the motions of nuzzling, a direction that’s, again, not in the script.

As all this is happening, as Stevie is destroying all their stuff, Billy comes up to check on his mother.

If I come back and find you’ve hurt her, I’ll…I’ll…

What a wonderful job by newcomer Archie Madekwe in this role. He’s a young man but plays even younger by doing a great cracking thing with his voice as well as the rough clumsy movements of a gawky teenager.

The scene ends with both Stevie and Martin spent by the all the talk and all the destruction around them.

You have brought me down, you goat-fucker; you love of my life! You have brought me down to nothing!

As the scene transitions, we see Damian going through some more contortions, tangling and untangling himself.

Scene Three

The focus of this scene is Billy. He has some of the anger his mother had, but mostly he’s in a state of raw pain as well as a strange feeling of needing to fix up the mess before Stevie comes back from wherever she went. He’s a good boy, from a good home, and he doesn’t quite know how to wrap any sense around how it all went so horribly wrong.

Billy tells Martin about something at school where everyone was asked to talk about their lives and how they felt about things. He talks about what he was planning to say, how Martin and Stevie have been such great parents:

You’re smart, and fair, and you have a sense of humor—both of you—and… you’re Democrats.

He goes on to tell Martin how great he thinks they’ve been about him coming out as gay, and how that was probably not always easy for them. Then, he starts talking about how his little speech for school will need to change now.

Ya see, while great old Mom and great old Dad have been doing the great old parent thing, one of them has been underneath the house, down in the cellar, digging a pit so deep, so wide, so HUGE…we’ll all fall in and never be able to climb out again—no matter how much we want to, how hard we try. And you see, kids, fellow students, you see, I love these people. I love the man who’s been down there digging—when he’s not giving it to the goat! I love this man! I love him!

Billy collapses into tears and reaches out to embrace his father and they do embrace and he cries some more. Then he starts kissing Martin on the hand, on the face, and then, finally, full on the mouth. It’s not the kiss of a child and a parent. Something has turned. The audience is, understandably, shocked. This is where you hear the most gasps.

Ross has entered and watched this happen. Martin pushes Billy away firmly, tells him to stop, and as they come together in another embrace, this time non-sexual, Ross walks into the scene.

Ross: Excuse me…I didn’t mean to interrupt your little..

Martin: What!? See a man and his son kissing? That would go nicely in one of your fucking letters!

I saw the show twice and for whatever reason this line gets more of a laugh one time than the other. It is funny, sure, but Damian’s delivery the second time, in some mysterious way, gets the bigger laugh. Who knows how these things work. Clearly, we, the audience, are playing a role here too. 🙂

Billy apologizes for getting carried away, for momentarily forgetting he was kissing his father.

It clicked over, and you were just another…another man, I get confused… sex and love; loving and…I probably do want to sleep with him. I want to sleep with everyone.

It’s so raw and honest coming from a kid, so believable the way he says it, that your shock just drops away. But, then, there’s more shock.

Martin starts recalling a story someone told him of a man with a baby on his lap, the baby moving around, and the man getting hard from the baby moving around on his lap.

… and then the moment passed, and he knew it had all been an accident, that it meant.. nothing—that nothing was connected to anything else.

Ross is appalled and disgusted and rendered speechless, as are we all.  It’s clear that Martin is talking about himself. Billy wonders if the baby was him. Martin hushes him, but doesn’t say no.

Just when you think it couldn’t get any crazier, right? Anyway, what happens next and at the end is the big catharsis. Martin cries over the fact he’s so alone. Damian delivers that bit so beautifully, the entire room goes still for it. It’s one of those magical moments when you can’t even hear your neighbors breathing and you can just tell that everyone watching truly believes it, how very completely alone Martin is.

Finally, Stevie comes back home, dragging a dead goat wrapped in bloody cloth, then unwrapped by Martin. He weeps over her. The script had Martin doing a deeply painful scream. Damian plays it with just as much pain, but more noiselessly.

Stevie: What did you expect me to do?

In one performance Okonedo delivered this line like an affront, an accusation, and in the other performance she delivered it more quietly, resigned. I felt more for Stevie when she delivered it quietly. Then, Martin in sobbing tears:

What did she do? What did she ever do?

Stevie: She loved you…you say. As much as I do.

We all want to think art is driven by love and loss. So is life. That’s the ideal, anyway. But is life really “about” love and loss? Maybe it’s something way more banal? And basic? And is that wrong?

The play ends, ultimately, with a sacrifice at the altar of love and loss.

At every turn, Martin asserts his disconnectedness. It’s both his complaint against the world and his defense for his actions, the idea that absolutely nothing is connected to anything else. It’s an extreme isolation, and he has no idea where it comes from or why he’s the only one to feel it. He’s confused as to why no one else is as alone as he is, no one else is as isolated. His confession is a sort of plea to lessen the severity of the isolation he feels. But, he’s powerless. And because he’s powerless, he’s also not responsible. It’s such a complicated picture of human agency, hard to put into words. It’s almost like describing a negative, describing the disintegration of what it means to have a family and a home, morality and trust. Trust, as big a deal as it usually is, is actually the least of the things at stake here.

Often in literature, because they are morally blank slates with no preconceptions or prejudices to obscure and adulterate their understanding, children are employed as a device to ask the really hard questions. In many ways, Martin is a child here. He’s lived a reasonably straight-laced life as a reasonably responsible adult. Still, something in him has snapped, he doesn’t know why or how. We don’t know either, and it really doesn’t matter for the story. What matters is that, like a child, Martin is asking all the questions, thereby exposing all the themes of the play. Damian plays Martin like he simply cannot wrap his head around the moral question. And, of course, that’s the sure way to be the one who gets to even ask the moral question. At one point, Billy tells his father to grow up. Martin’s response: “Oh, so THAT’S it.” As if to say that growing up means ceasing to ask the big questions, the ones which have no answers.

Stevie, Billy, and Ross are all in reactive mode for most of the play. They’re the Greek chorus, they are US, wondering what the hell is going on, how can any of this be happening. Then again, they are each more than us, in that they each play a role is exposing other, somehow lesser, lapses in morality that we all, to some extent or other, are guilty of.

Ross speaks of his crew as people he’d never have over for dinner. He’s put the people who work for him in a category, in a class, separate from himself. He doesn’t see them as his equals, despite all his posturings of being a “left wing proletariat.” Stevie commits the sin of murder, the murder of her husband’s lover. But because that victim is a goat, and we kill animals all the time, it’s somehow okay. It’s understandable, therefore forgivable. Martin, himself, in addition to his major sin, contributes lesser sin to the picture when he calls his son a faggot and speaks sarcastically to him of public urinals, things that “you people do”. It’s not very nice for him to talk to his son that way, but it’s somehow also okay. Understandable, therefore forgivable.

Martin didn’t go out to that field expecting an animal to communicate with him via her eyes. But it happened and Martin could not help but be receptive. Did Sylvia “intend” such a communication? Does an animal have that level of agency, enough to seduce a human? What we know of biology tells us no. So, as much as Martin was receiving the message Sylvia seemingly communicated with her eyes, it was also, of course, entirely his human imagination seeing something that science tells us couldn’t possibly have been there. Those eyes, and he was done for. Human imagination sees a lot of things that defy all logic.

Throughout the play, Martin is confused. He’s disgusted with himself. Never at peace, and never defensive of the act itself. He’s merely defensive of his right to ask why and wonder why not. Martin defends his need to ask his family and friend why his offense is more heinous and unacceptable than Ross’s xenophobia, his own homophobia, and Stevie’s murderousness. Why are we self-righteously moral about some things and not others? Why is homosexuality okay for our generation when only yesterday (it seems) it was considered a crime? Albee himself was gay, so, having lived thru the long sweeping trajectory of acceptance of homosexuality, the idea of gayness as a moral crime was likely an exploration central in his time.

Just as there is no scientific explanation for why a man would see fit to fall in love with a goat, lest we forget, not long ago, science hadn’t chimed in with an explanation for homosexuality either. Humans, like all animals, are governed by their biology to procreate. Homosexuality put a wrench in that logic. Of course, thanks to science, we now know that it’s highly likely that there is a genetic component to homosexuality. And we also know there are animals that exhibit homosexual behaviors. Remember, not too long ago, those who refused to accept homosexuality as a normal human condition, when the issue of marriage equality came up, were the ones asking: What’s next? Man wanting to marry a dog? The acts were not that different in some ignorant minds.

The play is not about formulating a defense for bestiality and forcing us to hear a defense of the indefensible. It is about getting us to ask questions. It’s also about putting those questions in historical context. As we must put all the stories we ever hear and tell.

In the end, is the message one of nihilism? Nothing matters, anything goes? Not entirely. Not when community is at stake, not as long as we insist on the need for community. Martin is alone. Notwithstanding the bestiality support group he briefly attends, he’s alone is what he did and he’s alone in facing the repercussions of it. Even among others who had done the same thing, Martin was alone in his inability to see what they all saw as an unforgivable sin, something they needed to cure. Whereas the others engaged in bestiality due to childhood trauma or disfiguring ugliness or out of habit, Martin absolutely believed in his love for Sylvia.

Billy, with hope cracking in his voice asks at the end: “Dad? Mom?” In those final words, we hear the plea of a child let loose on the world way before he ought to have been: If you’re gone, if this is done, who am I anymore, where do I fit in the world? Martin’s actions have broken the family irrecoverably. One man stepping over a line, a line drawn by all of us, adhered to by all of us, broke the construct, the contract, of what it means to be a family.

The Goat, or Who is Sylvia is a brilliant play, brilliantly performed.

 

14 thoughts on “The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? – A review”

  1. How I love theater! Nothing comes close. Those moments onstage when they’re with you, willingly in the palm of your hand. Performances you can surrender to; let the actors take you. I saw Nathan Lane and Brian Kieth in “The Iceman Cometh” in Chicago. I was in tears at the curtain call. Not because it was tragic though it is. I turned to my husband and said”And that’s why they earn the big bucks”. I revel in your experience Jania.
    Speaking as a survivor of the first sexual revolution pedophilia and/or incest are eventually the last frontier. I’m impressed by Albee’s acknowledging that. It rarely is.
    In a post God world, who defines morality? Historically the answer is the State. Why? Because I may accept a goat fucker but I don’t want my sister to fuck him. ( – ; Thanks Jania. Good job!

    1. Thank you!!

      I love theater too, and wish I could go more often. Remember every single production I’ve been fortunate enough to see, if not the name and actors, then certainly the situation that got me there: a school trip, a date night in Manhattan, reading a review and making sure I got tickets in time, etc. Can’t say the same for any other modes of entertainment. It is truly the most interactive entertainment there is. Luckily a lot of theaters offer discounts for students and young people should certainly be making use of those opportunities. As an undergrad in NY, I had a work study job in an art gallery which was a part of a larger performance center. The job was great but even greater was the last minute tickets I would get for stage performances. In addition to the smattering of shows I went to as a teen, I found a real connection to the magic of theater in those undergrad days. I very distinctly remember seeing Waiting for Godot on stage.. the laugh-out-loud story, the interactive elements in it, the deeper theme…all so magical!

      Albee butted up against a frontier alright. And leave it to Damian to show the humanity in this character. How he suffered. Like Damian said somewhere: it’s not about sympathy, it’s about empathy. He knows most of us don’t want to be on Martin’s side in all of this. Who would? But then why watch anything if you hate everything about the main character? Damian makes it impossible to totally reject, close ourselves off from understanding, the often reprehensible characters he plays. It’s impossible to not feel empathy with Damian at the wheel. And, in the end, that’s what all art is about, putting us in someone’s else’s shoes.

  2. Thank you for this fantastic review! The Goat gives you so much to think about and write about, doesn’t it? I know you had to leave stuff out, too! 😀 It was a true pleasure sitting next to you and seeing the play two times and it is pure happiness NOW to be taken back, by this review, to the Royal Theatre Haymarket stalls!

    I cannot be happier Damian chose The Goat for his return to the West End — we are people that love our art challenging and how lucky we are that our favorite actor — hey maybe we are not lucky, maybe IT IS the reason he is our favorite actor — likes a good challenge in his art, too! The Goat is as bold as a play can get and here is Damian more than happy to tackle it.

    I am in love with the little observations you make about gasps, and laughs, and also not-so-little observations about the set design and how actors have done a particular scene differently on two different performances. I think I enjoyed the Friday performance better than the Thursday matinee and one reason for that would be the audience. As you perfectly define the theatre experience, there is a silent and not so silent interaction going on and the audience, I thought, was more interactive on Friday for some reason. As we talked before, different days/times may be bringing in a different profile of people so maybe Friday evening is THE time for theatre! 😀

    Keeping it short today because I will go back and read your review again. Loving it! 😀

    1. Yes, the audience was very different on the two showings, wasn’t it? I had no idea how much an audience can effect a show, as this is the first show I’ve ever watched twice in a row. So grateful to be able to experience such a thing, and with you sitting right next to me. 😀

      1. I watched only a couple of plays two times — to be on the record, American Buffalo, THIS, and Wolf Hall — and, to be honest, I never really thought about the audience. Then I watched this Albee interview from 2002 in Charlie Rose and they were talking about it. Then you and I talked about it London. But then, Friday night, at stage door, Jason Hughes told us we were a great crowd that night. So they NOTICE. I have no idea exactly how but it may have an effect on the actors. I am as grateful as you are for the experience and sharing it with you was the cherry on the pie!

  3. What an experience you ladies had. I love how you noticed the slight differences between performances, and your depth and insight into the play and acting is amazing. It sounds like a very thought provoking play, and it may not be for everyone, but it sure will have people talking!

    Thank you for sharing and bring us all in the theater with you!

  4. Thank for an awesome review! I want to catch it and see it before they wrap up. I love the fact that Damian always picks plays like this to do. It’s super cool and he totally can pull it off proving us all how versatile of an actor he is.

    I love the fact that Jason Hughes got to do it with Damian (I’d love to ask him how was that experience) and I do have a serious crush on Jason Hughes ever since he was first is Midsomer Murders (does this scream British or what XD).

    I think I’d love them to see do The Pillowman (how cool would that be, that play is a serious crazy barrel).

    Well, If I get to see it I will talk about it afterwards, no doubt,

    Once again – brilliant post <3

    1. Thank you!!

      Jason Hughes did look awfully familiar, I must have seen something of his in the past. They were all doing fantastic American accents on stage, but when we saw Hughes at stage door, I thought he sounded vaguely Scottish. Shows you how much I know about accents. Of course he’s Welsh! And we all know the long tradition of great actors coming from Wales. Must needs look up what else he’s done.

      Just saw a YT clip of The Pillowman. You’re right! I can totally see these two in that!

      Then again, with all the projects we want for Damian, he’ll never ever rest!

      Thanks again! 🙂

  5. Hallo Zusammen,

    erstmal herzlichsten Dank für Deine Übersetzung meiner Kommentare, liebe Damianista!!
    Außerdem kann ich es gar nicht fassen, was Ihr euch für uns immer für eine Arbeit macht. Dieser Dank geht an Damianista, JaniaJania, Lady Trader und TBkWrm. Es ist einfach unglaublich was Ihr da abliefert. Tausend Dank an Euch !!

    Und jetzt komm ich zu meiner eigentlichen Mitteilung. Ich weiß nicht ob Ihr eigentlich wisst, welches Glück Ihr Beiden in London tatsächlich hattet …. !!??? Ihr habt die Vorstellungen am Donnerstag und Freitag Abend besucht !! ?? Stimmt`s ?!
    Ich hatte die Karte für Samstag Abend und habe mich in London spontan dazu entschieden, bereits am Samstag Nachmittag die Vorstellung zu besuchen und………., was soll ich sagen, ich habe mich bei dieser Seite für den Spitznamen „Lucky Fellow“ entschieden und das passt, weil:
    Ich habe am Nachmittag voller Glück die Vorstellung genossen und mich dann natürlich auch auf die Abendvorstellung gefreut….. !! Allerdings muss ich dazu sagen, dass ich bereits am Nachmittag schon gemerkt habe, dass er nicht wirklich fit war. Beim Schluss-applaus wurde er sogar offensichtlich von dem jungen Archie gestützt. Für mich sah es so aus, als hätte er nach wie vor die Gleichgewichtsprobleme. Zudem hat er sich während der Vorstellung ziemlich häufig die Waden gerieben und wenn er stand, sogar die hinteren Oberschenkel. Während den stehenden Dialogen hat er ungewöhnlich die Hände immer wieder in die Seiten gestützt. Mir war und ist bis heute nicht klar, ob er das für die Rolle so eingebaut hat, oder ob er wirklich körperliche Probleme hatte. Mein Gefühl sagt mir, dass das letztere zutrifft.
    Vielleicht könntet Ihr mir noch mitteilen, ob er diese Bewegungen auch bei Euch auf der Bühne gemacht hat.
    Schlussendlich war es so, dass er am Samstagabend von der Zweitbesetzung vertreten wurde.
    Kurz vor Spielbeginn wurde uns Zuschauern mitgeteilt, dass Mister Damian Lewis krank ist und nicht spielen kann. Natürlich war ich im ersten Moment total geknickt und enttäuscht, die Sorge um ihn hat allerdings überwogen. Lt. meiner Internetrecherche müsste er am Montag wieder selbst gespielt haben, was für mich bedeutet, dass es ihm wieder besser geht. Hoffentlich!!
    Die Reise nach London, was übrigens ebenfalls fantastisch war, habe ich nur für Damian Lewis angetreten und deshalb bin ich jetzt natürlich unendlich dankbar dafür, dass ich auf meine innere Stimme gehört habe und mich auch noch für die Nachmittagsvorstellung entschieden habe.
    Herzliche Grüße aus Deutschland !!

    1. Well, you are one LUCKY fellow! We had very good luck on Thursday and Friday and I admit Damian got us worried on Saturday (I was on the plane back to the US at the time). But, yes, he was back to stage on Monday, thank God! I do not know what the problem was but it may again be his eardrum. These things do not go away in a few weeks. I am so glad you were able to see him on stage.

      There were instances he held his hands on his sides or held his thighs but not as regularly as you are talking about here. I think there was clearly something off with him on Saturday. Maybe he should not have even got on stage then but they say actors go on stage even when they are half dead because the show must go on and Damian is a trouper. I really hope he has left the health issues completely behind now.

      HUGS to Germany and many thanks for reading us and for your kind words <3

    2. Here you are translated: 😀

      “Hello everybody,

      Thank you very much for your translation of my comments, dear Damianista !!
      Besides, I can not believe what you are doing for us. This thanks goes to Damianista, JaniaJania, Lady Trader and TBkWrm. It’s just incredible what you’re delivering. A thousand thanks to you !!

      And now I come to my real message. I do not know if you really know what luck you both had in London. !! ??? You visited the performances on Thursday and Friday evening !! ?? Right?
      I had the ticket for Saturday night and I spontaneously decided to go to the show in London on Saturday afternoon and ………., What can I say, I decided on this site for the nickname “Lucky Fellow” and Which fits because:
      In the afternoon I enjoyed the performance and I was looking forward to the evening performance … .. !! However, I have to say that I already in the afternoon already noticed that he was not really fit. In the final applause, he was obviously supported by the young Archie. For me it seemed as if he still had the problems of balance. In addition, during the performance, he often rubbed his calves and when he was standing, even the hind thighs. During the standing dialogues, he has repeatedly held his hands in the sides. It was not clear to me whether he had installed it for the role or whether he really had physical problems. My feeling tells me that the latter is true.
      Perhaps you could tell me whether he made these movements on the stage with you.
      In the end it was that he was represented on Saturday night by the second occupation.
      Shortly before the start of the game, we were told that Mister Damian Lewis is ill and can not play. Of course I was totally kinked and disappointed in the first moment, the concern for him, however, has been overbalanced. Lt. My internet search he would have to play again on Monday, which means for me that he is better again. Hopefully!!
      The trip to London, which was by the way also fantastic, I have only for Damian Lewis and therefore I am now of course grateful for the fact that I have listened to my inner voice and also decided for the afternoon performance.
      Greetings from Germany !!”

      And now my response:

      Yes, we saw the performance on Thursday afternoon and Friday evening. We heard about the illness over the weekend, and, of course, were very concerned over what could have possibly happened in a day. Yes how lucky of you to see him in the afternoon. I think he has a recurring problem with his ear….thus losing balance, and, the way you describe it, trying to hold himself up. Such a trooper to even do the afternoon performance when he already felt sickly. We saw none of what you describe in our performances. I do have to say he was stronger on Thursday than on Friday…Damianista seems to have preferred the Friday performance, so the changes between the two were very slight. To me, he seemed just slightly off, a bit distracted, on Friday, so he may have felt the beginning of this coming on even then. Thank goodness, it resolved or he got the treatment he needed. How worried we all get when we fear he may not be well!! Like he’s a part of our family, which he is…at least in this little corner of the internet. Thank you for reading and for sharing your comments. <3

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