The Tennessee Rep wants to get your goat

O&AN and the Tennessee Rep want to send you and a guest to see The Goat or, Who is Sylvia? at TPAC's Johnson Theatre. All you have to do to enter is send an email to with "The Goat" in the subject line. Be sure to include a day-time phone number in your entry. All winners will see a special O&AN night performance on Friday, Feb. 15, at 7:30 p.m. For more information on the play visit and check out the article below. Good luck!

More about The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?...

Tennessee Repertory Theatre plans to bring The Goat or, Who Is Sylvia? to the stage for its Middle Tennessee debut.  This Edward Albee masterpiece has been lauded with accolades such as the 2002 Tony Award for Best Play, the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play, and the New York Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play. The tragic-comedy was also a finalist for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize in Drama.

The Goat or, Who Is Sylvia? runs Jan. 31 – Feb. 16, in the Johnson Theater at TPAC. (See full schedule at the bottom of the page.)

“This play by Edward Albee is truly a brilliant piece of American theatre,” says Rene Copeland, producing artistic director for Tennessee Rep and director of this show.

Edward Albee is America’s most honored playwright: three Pulitzer Prizes for Drama, a special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement, a Gold Medal in Drama from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, a Kennedy Center Honors recipient, and a National Medal of Arts recipient, to name but a few. Albee is recognized as the master of absurd realism—the introduction of something completely absurd into an otherwise normal and realistic setting. The Goat or, Who Is Sylvia? is a perfect example of this.

A tale of a married, middle-aged architect whose life crumbles when he falls in love with a goat, The Goat or, Who Is Sylvia? focuses on where the limits of a civilized society are. By showing this family in crisis, Albee challenges audience members to question their own moral standards in the face of other social taboos.

“Albee’s intention is to thoroughly shock you, to totally shake you up, to make you gasp as you—and the family of the main character, Martin--are forced to cope with a horrifying and absurd situation. A wonderful man and loving husband has fallen seriously, completely, and—here’s the shocker—physically in love with a goat he calls ‘Sylvia,’” continues Copeland.

Below that surface is a rich exploration of the complexity of human relationships of personal tolerance. Albee himself says, “It’s about the limits of our own tolerance; what we permit ourselves to think about.”

Copeland adds, “Betrayal in and of itself is not necessarily such a shocking theme in the world of storytelling. Betrayal is universal, but the answer to ‘how far is too far?’ is different for everyone, so by having this marriage threatened by such a universally unacceptable betrayal—physical relations with animals—Albee has managed to find a way to take us all on the same journey as Martin’s family and force us toward total empathy with the ensuing consequences.”

Even deeper, the play explores the question of how we define tragedy in the 21st Century.

The play’s subtitle—Notes Toward a Definition of Tragedy—has more than one purpose. One one level, it references the origin of the word tragedy is the Greek tragōidiā contracted from trag(o)-aoidiā = "goat song" from tragos = "goat" and aeidein = "to sing".

On another level, it prompts the consideration of whether this tale serves as a “tragedy” in these times. In a figurative sense a “tragedy” is any event with a sad and unfortunate outcome (as defined by Aristotle), but the term also applies specifically in Western culture to a form of drama characterized by seriousness and dignity and involving a great person who experiences a reversal of fortune. This should evoke pity and fear within an audience.  Albee asks, “Does this story qualify?”

The Goat or, Who Is Sylvia? promises to be as intense—and as rewarding—an evening as anyone has ever had in a theater. However, everyone who attends should be fully aware of the play’s content and language.

Copeland says, “It’s important to be aware that the themes are intended for adults. This play has a lot to say to grownups and absolutely nothing to say to children. But the fact is this is a brilliant play being produced by regional theatres all over the country, and I think that Nashville deserves to have such an important piece produced here. And more than that, I think that, despite any shock at the frankness of the subject or language, with Tennessee Rep’s fabulous technical designs and the stellar ensemble of actors theatre-goers will find themselves proud that theatre of this quality is being produced here in Middle Tennessee.”

Tickets are $10-$40 (some restrictions do apply). Tickets are on sale at the TPAC Box Offices (at 505 Deaderick Street in Downtown Nashville and at Davis-Kidd Booksellers in the Mall at Green Hills) and at all Ticketmaster outlets. Tickets are available by phone or Internet order at the following: (615) 255-ARTS, or

NOTE: No one under the age of 18 will be admitted to this production. Tennessee Repertory Theatre reserves the right to ask for age verification via appropriate government issued ID.

Performance Schedule:
The Goat or, Who Is Sylvia? (Notes Toward a Definition of Tragedy)

  • January 31 – February 16 at TPAC’S Johnson Theater
  • Thursday, January 31, 6:30 P.M.
  • Friday, February 1, 7:30 P.M.
  • Saturday, February 2, 7:30 P.M.
  • Wednesday, February 6, 6:30 P.M.
  • Thursday, February 7, 6:30 P.M.
  • Friday, February 8, 7:30 P.M.
  • Saturday, February 9, 2:30 P.M. and 7:30 P.M.
  • Wednesday, February 13, 6:30 P.M.
  • Thursday, February 14, 6:30 P.M.
  • Friday, February 15, 7:30 P.M.
  • Saturday, February 16, 2:30 P.M. (signed performance) and 7:30 P.M.
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