I got to watch a great play last Friday at Austin Peay State University called Sylvia by A. R. Gurney. In it Greg, a man nearing middle age, brings home a new dog named Sylvia. He forms an immediate attraction to the dog but his wife Kate despises her. He has found someone new to take care of but Kate has found a new rival for Greg's love and affection. And from there we launch into a hilarious journey into this couple's battle of the dog.
|The poster for APSU's production. Cute Right?|
#1 Coming out of Left Field
When you hear the above story line you might think, "What's the big deal? It's just a couple fighting over a dog." Did I mention that the dog was played by a person? And that the dog could actually talk and be understood by both of them? Plays are great pieces of art because, unlike film or tv, they can talk a hit right out of left field like that and touch an audience on a deeper level. Because Sylvia got to talk and express herself in ways that weren't just barks or snarls you got an insight into what dogs might be really thinking and saying when they flip their wig over a cat walking by.
Another good thing about Sylvia being played by a human is that it points out something every dog owner knows. After staying with you for any length of time your dog can become your "furbaby" that never lets you down or leaves you. They always seem to become more that just a dog to you. They become a member of the family and you forget that they'e not human!
|Cast and crew preparing for photos after the show.|
#2 Great Acting
We actually have a professional regional theatre in our town. But due to the fantastic professors and curriculum at APSU's department of theatre and dance all of the actors in the show were of top notch caliber already! I may be biased because I came out of that program but no one can dispute that the work of these young men and women were pro-stage worthy. Senior Anne Winters played the tortured wife beautifully. Also notable were the acting chops of Antonina LaRocca, also a senior who played Sylvia. And the Men were very well represented in the acting of Junior Christian Jasper and Sophomore Joshua Webb. There wasn't a low point in the entire show when these actors joined forces onstage!
#3 Great Design
With the entrance of Noel Rennerfeldt APSU's theatre and dance department got a wonderful set designer and technical director who uses his design chops to bring great sets onto the APSU mainstage. After seeing his work for three shows now and having built sets for that stage before I applaud his craft and mastery and Jon Penney and the students that work in the shop to make those sets a reality. It brings back such fond memories.
So there you have it. Sylvia is a great show and if you ever find an opportunity to see it someday it's definitely worth the while. And if you ever get the chance to go and see a show at the Austin Peay department of Theatre and Dance it's definitely worth your while too! Trust me, they're a lot better than some professional theatre's I've seen.
If you want to learn more about A. R. Gurney or Sylvia just look here. To learn more about the APSU theatre and dance department look here.