With comical musical numbers and bright set lights, The Woman Who Gave Birth to a Goat is a play that is difficult to forget. Set in the modern era, the drama tells the story of a young girl named Emily who is somehow pregnant with a goat. Yes, I repeat, pregnant with a goat. **disclaimer ** No goats were harmed in the production of this play, nor does it advocate bestiality. The play interestingly blends: dramatic monologue, film, song, and even dance, all with the goal of questioning whether the life of a human is greater than the life of an animal.
While the absurd notion of becoming pregnant with a goat is about as realistic as Logan Paul’s apology videos, the issues Emily faces are only too real for the audience: a partner that abandons her upon finding out she is pregnant, the pressures of abortion, and the fear of medical complications. This is not a mere comedy aimed at blind entertainment, it is a touching show that tackles hard-hitting issues. It causes you to sympathise with the speaker only to rip her away from you at the last minute. You will laugh, you will cry – sometimes at the same time.
In a quick-fire portion of the show, Em asks the question: “Would you rather save the entire panda species or your mother?”. Interestingly when asked for raised hands only one person voted to save the pandas. Is this because everyone else saw humanity as superior, or is it because the speaker chose someone so close to us? Selfishly, I cannot claim to have wanted to save the pandas; even hypothetically I felt guilty sacrificing my own blood. Yet, surely, I should have felt more guilt to have hypothetically chosen to end an entire species. This question made me think back to Phillipa Foot’s The Trolley Problem– which I obviously got from The Good Place – in which you see a runaway trolley moving towards five restraint people lying on the tracks. You are next to a lever that controls a switch. If you pull the lever, the trolley will be redirected onto a side track, and the five people on the main track will be saved. However, there is a single person lying on the side track. You have two options:
- Do nothing and allow the trolley to kill the five people on the main track.
- Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person.
Which is the more ethical option? Do you simply ignore the trolley and let five people die, or do you pull the lever and be the cause of that singular death? Now, whilst you don’t actually kill your mother or your panda, you are still accountable for their death. How do you weigh up these lives? How do you decide who gets to live?
I am so glad I had the opportunity to watch The Woman Who Gave Birth to a Goat. Unlike most theatre productions which simply serve as entertainment, I really had my eyes opened by this show. I would gladly recommend this bazaar comedy to anyone. It gets better too, the show is the baby (pardon the pun) of three QM Drama and QMTC alumni which gives you an extra incentive to support ex students, but also to potentially see the kind of work you could be producing once you graduate if you are an aspiring and up and coming artist. Keep an eye out on their social medias to see where and when they will next be performing and what future projects they have in the pipeline.
Here is a bit more info about the three ex QM students behind the play:
Hugo Aguirre – Hugo is an English/French/Spanish designer and theatre maker. Design credits include: Tokens of Affection (Waterloo East [Upcoming]), SAFARI (The North Wall/The Wardrobe Ensemble), Asking For A Raise (The Space [also co-created]), Debris (Theatre N16) Corpus Christi (The Arcola Queer Collective) and WAGGO (Edinburgh Fringe [also co-created]). Assistant designer credits include: The Human Voice (The Gate), Sugar (as part of Mapping Brent, Kiln Theatre) and Crazy Gary’s Mobile Disco (Landor Space). https://
Chloe Borthwick – Chloe is a performance artist currently forging a drag king career as Justin Bieber. She has performed twice at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and at several performance festivals in London with solo and duo pieces.
Lizzie Manwaring – Lizzie is a German/Welsh/American director and theatre-maker currently training on Birkbeck’s MFA in Theatre Directing. Directing credits include: Love and Information (Munich International School), WAGGO (Edinburgh Fringe), And Then… (Latitude Festival). Assistant directing credits include: The Diary of A Scoundrel (Rose Bruford/Told By An Idiot [Upcoming]), A New and Better You (The Yard), Timeless (National Youth Theatre) and has worked with companies including Complicité and Goat and Monkey. https://