Sylvia: A.R. Gurney's Comedy About a Man, a Woman and a Dog Presented by Edgemar CenterEdgemar Center for the Arts (2437 Main St. Santa Monica, CA 90405)
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The last date listed for Sylvia was Sunday January 29, 2012 / 5:00pm.
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Goldstar Member Tips
Rhea D. on Information
Casual play fare
william daugherty on Information
City lots have too short a time limit. In the building is $9 for the event.
Goldstar Member on Information
In the building $5
49 Goldstar Member Reviews
Written on Dec 23 2011
What a wonderful and refreshing play! It was so enjoyable and fun! I'd see it again and plan to tell my friends to go.
Written on Dec 19 2011
Saw this with 3 other friends that are also doglovers/owners.....we all totally enjoyed the production! We marveled as to how this talented cast showed you life thru the eyes of a dog and how our 4 legged best friends impact our lives immensely. I highly recommend this creative show...if you have a dog in you life...past/present/ or future...this will enlighten and entertain you!
Written on Dec 01 2011
The cast, especially "Sylvia" was outstanding! It's such a fun play, I can't imagine anyone not enjoying it.
Written on Nov 22 2011
Two of a man's most fundamental relationships are those with his wife and with his dog, not necessarily in that order. The play we saw last night, "Sylvia", by A.R. Gurney, which is currently in production at the Edgemar Center in Santa Monica, explores just those relationships.
Here's the scoop, Scooby-doo. Sylvia takes place in the mid-1990s (although it could be anytime) in New York City. Greg, a middle-age middle-class man who hates what his job as become finds Sylvia, a dog played by a human, in the park and takes a liking to her. He brings her back to the empty nest he shares with Kate. Kate, on the other hand, has finally escaped the kids and the dogs, She's got a new job teaching English to inner-city kids, and is enjoying going out with Greg to the nightlife of New York. A dog destroys this. So when Kate comes home to Sylvia, she wants her gone. They eventually decide that Sylvia will stay for a few days before they decide whether she can stay longer, but Greg and Sylvia have already bonded. Greg starts spending more and more time with Sylvia, and less and less time at work. Greg talks to Sylvia, and she listens. Tension increases between Greg and Kate, and eventually, Greg becomes completely obsessed with Sylvia. Meanwhile, Kate is fearing that their marriage is falling apart. Kate and Sylvia are at odds with each other, each committed to seeing the other defeated. The detent continues until two breaking incidents: first, Sylvia goes into heat and has an encounter with Bowser at the dog park, leading to Sylvia getting spayed. Secondly, Kate applies for a grant to teach in London, and gets accepted. This means that Greg must decide between Kate and Sylvia, because the UK has a six-month dog quarantine. I'll leave the final resolution a surprise. If you're really curious, read the Wiki Synopsis.
(I'll note the synopsis discusses a scene with a therapist. Either I blacked out at some point, or the Edgemar cut that scene (at least last night). The character is listed in the program, so perhaps they had it at one point. I didn't miss it.)
At its heart: Sylvia is a combination love story and growing older story, just like "On Golden Pond". In this case, the growing older part addresses the (far too often, although I'm still waiting for mine) mid-life crisis that men go through. They've been with the same job for 20+ years, the same woman for 20+ years, and having a new beauty in their life adds spice and vitality, and reenergizes them. This beauty can be a sportscar, it can be a mistress, or in Greg's case, it can be a dog. They lavish time and attention on this thing, which loves them back, while ignoring older relationship. This comes back to bite them in the butt, and they eventually need to decide: which relationship is more important. Sometimes they can work it out, sometimes they can't. This is what Sylvia explores, in a very funny manner.
At the heart of Sylvia is Sylvia herself, the little bitch (I had to work that in somewhere). Sylvia is portrayed by Tanna Frederickæ, a super-energetic skinny little thing who works her tail off, bounding from here to there in a performance that is not overly cutesy. Tanna jumps on furniture; she licks; she humps; she barks. She captures all those dog mannerisms in a portrayal that is, at its heart, human. You really get the feeling that she loves Greg, unconditionally. You sometimes wonder why her original owner gave her up.
Sylvia's owner, Greg, is portrayed by Stephen Howardæ. I truly liked his performance, perhaps because he seemed so easy going, so lost in where his job was going, and so needing the acceptance that Sylvia gave him. You didn't get the feeling that this was an actor playing a character; you felt this was a man with his dog. Stephen was just at home being Greg.
Greg's wife, Kate, was played by Cathy Ardenæ. Again, Cathy was at home with the character of Kate. You could tell she was in love with Greg, and wanted to spend more time with him... and was thus exasperated when his attentions turned to Sylvia, the other woman. An enjoyable performance.
Rounding out the cast was Ron Vignone, in the dual roles of Tom and Phyllis (a third role, Leslie, is also listed in the program, but this is the therapist scene that was cut). Evidently, Vignone was a replacement for Tom Ayers, who became sick in August, threatening the future of the play's run (it started in May). Vignone has down well with the small parts, especially with the portrayal of Tom in the second act, when Sylvia goes into heat.
[æ denotes members of æ Actors Equity ]
I should note that there is a significant reason why this cast works so well together: the three principles played the same roles when the production was done at the Sierra Madre Playhouse a long time ago.
The production was directed by Gary Imhoff, who not only has managed the mayhem, but turns humans into dogs quite convincingly. Leslie Turner served as stage manager, assisted by Jo Amari. Sylvia was produced by Alexandra Guarnieri.
Turning to the technical. The set was designed by Joel Daavid, who created a warm and welcoming apartment scene as well as side areas that served as the dog park. Daavid also served as lighting designer, using a simple design that focused on the actors. No credit was provided for sound, although there were suitable sound effects during the dog park scenes, as well as a wonderful collection of dog-themed music both before the show and at intermission.
"Sylvia" continues at the Edgemar Center for the Arts; no end date has been announced. Tickets are available through the Edgemar; they are also available via Goldstar.
More Information About Sylvia
Quotes & Highlights
- Watch video of a previous take on Sylvia at the Edgemar Center for the Arts.
- “Tanna Frederick shines in ‘Sylvia.’ Tanna totally embraces this role and has such ‘doggone’ fun in bringing Sylvia to life. It is infectious.” --Examiner.com
- “Tanna Frederick is truly brilliant as Sylvia. She embodies the fun-loving, childlike spirit of the dog.” --Huffington Post
- “A guy in both midlife crisis and a stale marriage is an old story, but throw in a rambunctious adopted dog—-played by an insouciant and lovely actress—-and you have a play that is both poignant and laugh-out-loud funny.” --Whole Life Times
- “More fun than a barrel of puppies. Frederick is nothing short of terrific.” --ReviewPlays.com
- “Tanna Frederick is a delight…. Dog lovers everywhere (and that must be half of L.A.) will love this play.” --The Gregory Mantell Show
About the Ticket Supplier: Edgemar Center for the Arts
Theatre, dance, music, film, and visual arts come together in one place. Students and seasoned professionals perform side-by-side--their work is a culmination of workshops, rehearsals, and collaboration across disciplines. This is the purpose and the realization of a Center for the Arts. Nestled between a cafÃ(c), salon, retail shops, and an annex of the Museum of Contemporary Art store, Edgemar Center for the Arts is the anchor of the Edgemar complex on Main Street in Santa Monica. The interior courtyard provides a hub for activity and a cross-pollination of artists, businesses, residents and visitors to this beachside destination. The complex is a stop on the tour of local gems designed by architect Frank Gehry.