National Chengchi University’s English Department yesterday defended its annual year-end production about man having a sexual affair with a goat as an appropriate choice and said they were puzzled why people would consider the play profane and foul.
“Sure the play touches upon the topic of bestiality but what’s so controversial about that? It has been around since ancient Greece,” said Patricia Ssutu (司徒芝萍), the directing professor, stressing that the central theme of the play is not about non-traditional sexual behaviors, but about family values and the complexity of the relations between a husband and wife, father and son, and extra marital affairs.
The 2003 Tony award winner for Best Play, The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? by American playwright Edward Albee, was selected by the students after long deliberation, she said.
The student who complained about the show, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Taipei Times that “material of this nature is not the kind of thing impressionable young university students should be watching.”
He said that his interest was piqued after coming across a flyer for the show, which bears an image of a goat, which he said he thought looked satanic in nature.
After getting hold of a copy of the script one day before the show he decided to complain to the university vice-president, and said he had hoped the school would adapt the script into something “less ugly.”
Several other students apparently walked out in the middle of the show in apparent disgust at the graphic nature of the play and the string of profanities that littered the script.
“It was the students that picked the play and the school was not about the censor their choice,” said Ssutu, who has directed a dozen year-end plays for the English Department in the past 20 years she has taught at the school.
“If the use of a four-letter word can express the emotions of the character, then it is perfectly appropriate,” she said.
The student described a scene in the play in which a man was silhouetted behind a screen, simulating a sexual act with a goat. The script, he said, also included references to pedophilia.
The original play, starring Bill Pullman, first opened on Broadway in March 2002 and closed in December of the same year after more than 300 performances.