Edward Albee’s dark comedy The Goat or, Who Is Sylvia? is playing at the Roslyn Packer Theatre from 2 – 25 March, 2023. This Tony Award-winning play from one of theatre’s darkest satirists follows Stevie and Martin as their seemingly perfect middle-class marriage is rocked to the core when Martin falls in love with a goat.

Australian screen legend Claudia Karvan stars as Stevie. Known for her roles in The Secret Life of Us, Love My Way and Bump, this marks Karvan’s return to the STC stage for the first time in 25 years.

Nathan Page stars alongside Claudia Karvan

Nathan Page plays Karvan’s onstage husband Martin. Audiences will recognise Page for his starring role as detective Jack Robinson in the popular Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. STCSA Artistic Director Mitchell Butel (Girls & Boys – Sydney Festival 2023) directs this co-production between Sydney Theatre Company and State Theatre Company South Australia. Butel says the play, a finalist for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, is at once hilarious and utterly shocking.

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“It’s an exploration of desire, of transgression, of secrets, of betrayal, of rage, and revenge – and you will never be able to feel the same about a visit to a farm again. It’s a really exciting piece about the limits of our tolerance and what happens when everything we believe to be true is turned on its head. As hilarious as the play is, Albee gave it the subtitle – Notes Towards a Definition of Tragedy – which gives you a sense of the huge and explosive arc of this play,” Butel says.

Starring alongside Karvan and Page are Adelaide’s Mark Saturno (STCSA’s The Normal Heart, A View from the Bridge) and young talent Yazeed Daher (SBS’ The Hunting, ABC’s The Heights) in his mainstage debut. The set is designed by Jeremy Allen (White Pearl) and costumes are designed by Ailsa Paterson (Chalkface). Lighting is designed by Nigel Levings (Girls & Boys) while STCSA’s resident sound designer Andrew Howard provides the sound effects.

A special connection

Karvan says it will be an “immense privilege” to return to tread the boards in a play written by him. “Edward Albee is such an incredible artist and while I’ve never performed in one of his plays, I feel a special connection to him – I even named my son Albee after him. Something about his outlook on life really clicks with me and I will be dedicating my performance to him.”

She says The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?, like other works by Albee including Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is “deeply affecting and heartbreaking, as well as incredibly witty, funny, fast and outrageous”.

“I am so excited to be in the company of live humans night after night,” Karvan says. “I’m looking forward to finding the nuances and the new details each night, but also to relish in both the discipline and simplicity of it.”

Albee is considered by many to be the greatest American playwright of his generation. In The Goat or, Who is Sylvia? he combines acerbic comedy, his feather-ruffling taste for the profane and his signature sense for all our petty foibles. This promises to be an explosive night of challenging ideas and brilliant acting.

  • When: 2nd – 25th March, 2023
  • Where: Roslyn Packer Theatre
  • Book tickets here