“Every production has a goat,” Dr. Stein would yell, “The goat gets the blame. DON’T BE THE GOAT!”
Dr. Stein’s advice is timeless and excellent. He wanted to make sure we were all appropriately trained to deal with anything and that we would always be able to work around any obstacle in a production so nobody could point a crooked finger us and say, “This is your fault,” thus making us, “The Goat.”
Sometimes you cannot avoid being labeled The Goat — it doesn’t mean you earned that title or that you did anything that deserves pointing — but the eternal fact in any production is that there must always be someone to blame. Every show needs an unlucky totem. Every show needs someone to kick when everyone is down.
Now that Joe Paterno is dead at 85, he will surely become in death what he never was in life: The Goat.