Auditions for upcoming production of Ugo Betti’s ‘Crime on Goat Island’

SCOTTVILLE - West Shore Community College announces auditions for its upcoming production of famed Italian playwright Ugo Betti’s riveting psychological thriller “Crime on Goat Island.”

Auditions are slated for Mon., Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. in the Center Stage Theater. The cast calls for one older man, one macho young man in his late 20s or early 30s, two sexually repressed early 30-something women, and one innocent college-aged girl.

The production will rehearse Monday through Thursday evenings until it plays in the Center Stage Theater, April 19-22.

“What do you get when you mix three vibrant ladies consigned to a secluded life on a desolate, craggy, sunbaked Italian island with a virile, sly, and good-looking man who washes ashore?” asks Rick Plummer, director of this drama. “A Crime on Goat Island, of course,” he answers. The director of the WSCC Performing Arts Series and this production also teases the audience with this question, “Was it passion or something else?”

Betti’s play is set immediately following WWII and centers on three women—Pia, the sister-in-law, Agata, the widow, and her daughter Sylvia who have been left on Goat Island by Enrico, the patriarch of the family—the father of the young daughter and the husband of Agata. He left them and went off to war.

They have been alone for three years when Angelo, a young good looking man, arrives. He says he was in a prisoner of war camp with the husband/father until Enrico dies and he is freed.

Angelo inserts himself into the fabric of this matriarchy and is feted by the women, waited on hand and foot. It seems that Agata has attracted his attention, but he eventually seduces all three women. Angelo, in due course, finds himself trapped down a well. Will he survive? Plummer says, “Come and find out!”

In medieval lore, the goat symbolized the libidinous male, Plummer says, and Angelo works at convincing the women that ‘’a little sin’’ would be good for them. Yet, as the four characters interact, their relationships become more complex and destructive.

Angelo becomes not the shepherd of a flock, but rather the butt, or scapegoat, of the play’s plot. These levels of meanings are woven through the script and are part of the play’s fascination.

Ugo Betti, who died in 1953, was a prolific playwright whose works are seldom seen in this country, Plummer adds. “In ‘Crime on Goat Island,’ like many of his other plays, he deals with characters trapped in their own nightmares. It is a careful study of human need and determination.”

For further information on the auditions for “Crime on Goat Island,” call Plummer at 843-5928, or e-mail him at