“Sylvia” says hello

So I dropped by a rehearsal for Sylvia on Saturday (Oct 15) – it was the first day in the performance space (Alumnae’s Studio Theatre) for the full cast.  I watched a run of short section from Act I, in which the besotted Greg (Andrew Batten, seen last year at Alumnae as oily Judge Brack in Hedda Gabler) introduces his new dog Sylvia (Lea Russell) to his wife Kate’s (Dinah Watts) friend Phyllis (Kay Montgomery).  The ladies are not exactly dog-lovers, and Sylvia does what dogs often do when meeting new people.  Yes, that.

From rehearsal - photo provided by producer Ramona Baillie: Sylvia the dog (Lea Russell) cosies up an unwilling Kate (Dinah Watts).

“It’s just my way of saying hello,” she explains to Phyllis.  Yep, Sylvia talks.  The humans don’t often understand her, but she knows exactly what they’re saying to her.  The scene in which she and Kate deliver ultimatums to each other is hysterical.

There are still two more actors I haven’t yet seen in action:  Douglas Tindal as a dog-owner whom Greg befriends, and Mary Joseph as Kate and Greg’s marriage counselor.  I’m looking forward to seeing them work – director Maria Popoff has assembled a fantastic cast.

Even at this early stage, one can identify with the characters and laugh at the absurdity (yet reality) of the situations.  When I first read this play – by American playwright A.R. Gurney, best-known for his ubiquitous two-hander Love Letters – I laughed out loud.  Several times.  And I was in a library.  This will be a very funny show, with some of Gurney’s trademark poignancy worked in behind the laughter.  Don’t miss it.

 November 11 – 26

Alumnae Theatre – 70 Berkeley Street, 3rd floor Studio


2-for-1 Wed; $20* Thu/Fri/Sat; PWYC Sun.  (No performances on Mon or Tue).

*Tickets for Thu/Fri/Sat can be purchased online at www.totix.ca

Rehearsal photo by producer Ramona Baillie: Greg (Andrew Batten) and the dog Sylvia (Lea Russell).


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Filed under 2011/12 season, Sylvia

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