Monday, April 9, 2018

Play a Day: Goat Song

Charlotte Rahn-Lee
For Monday I read Goat Song by Charlotte Rahn-Lee, and available at New Play Exchange.

Witnessing theater is unique in that artists create a unique place and a unique time in real time and space. You can create brief scenes that emulate the kind of time collapse that is familiar in film, but you can also let time play out the way it does in real life, leaving the audience to choose what to focus their eye or even ear upon.

In this way, theater is greater at transporting you to somewhere new and different than film is. Because you are there, breathing the same air as the characters whose story you are experiencing.

Goat Song takes us to the Galapagos, and the subject, on the face of it, is the eradication of an invasive species. This is based in reality, I'd heard about the goats of Galapagos on the program Radiolab.

Settlers/explorers/human invaders first brought these goats to the island as a source of food, and now they threaten to upset the balance of an ecosystem which also happens to be the history home of the theory of evolution.

One character asks, "Why is everyone obsessed with maintaining the status quo on an island that is famous for change?"

On one of Darwin's islands (which does not, of course, belong to Darwin) Rahn-Lee creates her own Petri dish of characters to stir up a fascinating philosophical debate on who lives and who dies, who gets to stay and who is forced to leave, and who has the right to decide.

"Are we going to draw a line in the sand and say, there -- if you arrive before this date you're allowed to stay ... but if you arrive after this date you're invasive."

It is a cunning metaphor for today's immigration debate with a chilling conclusion.

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