Where can I find life-sized, realistic goat replica quickly and for not too much money?
January 28, 2009 9:19 PM   Subscribe

I'm posting this on behalf of someone helping a theater company source some props (this is not his usual job and he isn't an experienced prop guy). The play is The Goat: or, Who Is Sylvia?, by Edward Albee.

This is an unusual and the goat is central to the plot, so they need a realistic-looking goat on stage. (It cannot be a comical goat.) They can't spend much money, so they are okay with borrowing or renting the goat. He's sent out some emails to theaters who've recently done this play for advice. I found this reasonably priced version and this awesome but expensive thing that I sort of want to keep for myself.

I thought there might be some experienced prop people among the mefites with some suggestions.

Thanks in advance!
posted by thewrongparty to Grab Bag (9 answers total)
Where is the theater company located?
posted by milquetoast at 1:54 AM on January 29, 2009

The production I saw didn't actually show a goat, I think; it was just either offstage, or in a sack. I could be misremembering this, but if not showing the goat would work, I think it might be a good choice; it leaves more to the imagination.

Another option that may or may not be practical depending on the script and director - just part showing, like a leg.

This is an amazing show if you have an awesome (and fearless) actor in the lead role.
Really wild.
posted by amtho at 4:21 AM on January 29, 2009

....I've heard of companies getting away with the goat by just using a sound effect and having "Sylvia" stay just offstage. (Note: I have not read the play, and so I don't know if actually seeing the goat is pivotal to the plot.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:27 AM on January 29, 2009

[spoiler alert!!]

when i saw the play a few years ago, we never saw sylvia. . . though i *do* remember there being a bloody sack hauled into the house by the wife, and tossed onstage at the end. the response of the protagonist was absolutely gut-wrenching, heartbreaking and so, so touching. it ended with him in total grief, falling to his knees by the bag.

i've often thought about this moment -- half of the audience sobbing uncontrollably, others (callously, i always thought) laughing their head off at his sadness over sylvia. it was an impossibly charged moment, which i guess is the mark of a successful production.

i think there's a lot of merit in not showing sylvia to the audience.
posted by crawfo at 6:57 AM on January 29, 2009

[spoiler alert the second!!]

The production of the play that I've seen sounds just like the one crawfo describes, including the horrific, gut-wrenching, bloody-sack scene at the end, which is the closest the audience came to actually seeing Sylvia.

Having a motionless replica of a goat on-stage would really change the tenor of the protagonist's descriptions of his feelings for Sylvia, which might be exactly what your friend's production is aiming for, although your caution that the goat replica must not be comic confuses the issue a bit.

Anyway, some location information might help to pin down your options a little better!
posted by Hellgirl at 8:10 AM on January 29, 2009

You might also want to try the Stagecraft Mailing List. They eat these kinds of questions for breakfast.
posted by zachlipton at 11:44 AM on January 29, 2009

[further spoilers]

I've read the play, but unfortunately haven't actually had an opportunity to see it. If I remember correctly, the script actually calls for her to drag the dead goat on stage. I can't tell for sure from the picture, but I don't know if your awesome but expensive link would work--the stuffed goat might not look limp enough. I like the bloody bag or bag with goat leg sticking out of it idea.

Alternately--and I realize not everyone is likely to be okay with this--can you get a real goat or part of one? Might be hard to do depending on where you are, but there are butcher shops that sell goat, and it would almost certainly be cheaper than the stuffed thing (er ... refrigerate between productions). If she carried the head on stage and chucked it on the floor, that could be pretty awesome. And not at all comical, except maybe in a horrible sort of way.
posted by Hypocrite_Lecteur at 11:54 AM on January 29, 2009

Response by poster: Sorry, I forgot the location! The play is in Chicago.

I confess to not having read the play and only knowing that there was a character in love with a goat. So the goat is dead? Hm. I was not given this information.

Wow, from the way you guys describe it, I think they are totally going the wrong direction if they have any type of goat replica just hanging out on the stage. I suspect it is not too hard to find real goat parts and I agree that it would be kind of awesome, in a horrible sort of way. Otherwise, an artificially bloodied sack and implied, off-stage goat seems like way to go!
posted by thewrongparty at 2:17 PM on January 29, 2009

Response by poster:
So the goat is dead?
And by this, I mean that the most dramatic moment in the goat role in this play is when it is dead.
posted by thewrongparty at 2:19 PM on January 29, 2009

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