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      SYLVIA WEARS KNEE PADS AND GLOVES! by Barbara Biddison

      dog82993833It is so much fun to see Lexa Van Duser as SYLVIA!  The dog.  And an additional special treat to see director Titus Himmelberger illustrate with his own body a move that he would like Sylvia to try. That's the sort of thing I get to see when I attend a rehearsal over a week before opening night.  It's not as polished as it will be, but I always love the process whether I'm watching or on stage myself.  This time I'm watching.  And I won't see the finished product until opening night.  We are in for a treat.  This dog says things like, "I've sat on couches before you know.  I've sat on plenty of couches."  The humans talk too, of course, and anyone who has been married and disagreed with their spouse, or adopted an adult dog, or seen a therapist, or known anybody who has done any of these things will find something to relate to.  Yes, they're funny, but they are also real.
      So it's the husband, Greg, played by Herb Johnson, who adopts the dog.  He loves that dog.  (Even I, who love my adopted Ginger dog, think that Greg is over the top in this loving dog business.)  Kate, the wife, is clearly jealous and not really that fond of the dog.  She's played by Catherine Mulcahey who hits just the right  balance between letting the dog stay, at least for now, and wanting to satisfy her own need to go to England and get rid of Sylvia so Greg can go with her.  (Quarantine regulations make it impossible to take the dog to England, much to Kate's relief.)  There are two other actors who fill bit parts.  Only one was rehearsed during the rehearsal that I saw.  Cody Losinger plays Leslie the therapist who tries to help Greg and Kate through this hiccup in their marriage.  The therapist is as interesting, in behavior and conversation, as the issues that Greg and Kate bring with them.  The three actors went through this little scene twice, and it got better and better. Cody really nails it.  He also has another bit part, and Gary Siegfried has a little something as Tom, but they didn't rehearse these scenes when I was there.  Since I know both Gary's and Cody's on-stage work I look forward to appreciating the value of small parts given to fine actors.
      SYLVIA has the usual Act I, then Act II format, and there is an intermission before the shorter second act.  The playwright, A.R.Gurney, is one whose plays we HG'ers have enjoyed before.  We have seen on our stages LOVE LETTERS and THE DINING ROOM and  ANCESTRAL VOICES.  He was a prolific American playwright, and he lived from 1930 until 2017.  I'm familiar with a few of his other plays--I've seen THE COCKTAIL HOUR  and have read THE PROBLEM.  He wrote 53 works for the stage!   I think he understood and wrote about the human condition in ways that we all understand.  I, for one, most surely understand SYLVIA.  It plays October 8, 9, 10 and 15, 16 in the Warehouse Theatre.  I'll probably see it twice.

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