The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? brings award-winning actor Claudia Karvan back to the stage

Acclaimed Australian actor Claudia Karvan will make her grand return to the stage in February in Edward Albee’s Tony Award-winning dark comedy masterpiece, The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?

Karvan’s role as the fabulous and ferocious Stevie will mark her first mainstage appearance in almost 25 years, after spending the past two decades lighting up the silver screen in Australian dramas such as The Secret Life of Us, Love My Way, Puberty Blues and Bump. Fellow screen star Nathan Page (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries) will star as her husband Martin, alongside Adelaide’s own Mark Saturno (The Normal Heart, A View from the Bridge) and young talent Yazeed Daher (The Hunting, The Heights) in his mainstage debut.

Directed by Artistic Director Mitchell Butel, the co-production between State Theatre Company South Australia and Sydney Theatre Company will have a strictly limited season at Dunstan Playhouse in February before heading to Sydney in March.

Albee’s dramatic, hilarious, tragic and absurdist exploration of a marriage breakdown – and a mysterious third party, Sylvia – was a Helpmann Award-winning success for State Theatre Company South Australia in 2005. More than 15 years later, this observation of love, desire, betrayal and the limits of our tolerance still startles like it was written yesterday.

Behind the scenes, an incredible creative team including set designer Jeremy Allen (The Normal Heart), costume designer Ailsa Paterson (Chalkface), lighting designer Nigel Levings (Girls & Boys) and resident sound designer Andrew Howard will help bring Albee’s tragicomedy to life.

Director Mitchell Butel says the play, a finalist for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, is at once
hilarious and utterly shocking.

“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. 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,” he says.

To have Claudia Karvan back on stage – and in her State Theatre Company South Australia debut – is particularly thrilling, he says.

“Claudia has been so busy over many years acting in and producing hit TV shows – many have tried to get her to return to the stage during this time and I am honoured and delighted that she’s chosen to return to the theatre in this production,” he says. “It’s a thrill that her first stage appearance in 25 years will be in Adelaide. I know this will be a special show for her. With the brilliant Nathan Page, Mark Saturno, rising star Yazeed Daher and an incredible creative team, this is set to be an epic piece of theatre that I think will live long in the memory.”

Karvan says it’s an “immense privilege” to return to tread the boards. “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,” Karvan said. “Something about his outlook on life really clicks with me and I will be dedicating my performance to him.”

Edward Albee’s The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? is a co-production from State Theatre Company South Australia and Sydney Theatre Company.

Photographer credit is Matt Byrne

Edward Albee’s The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?

10 – 25 February 2023

Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide


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