by A.R. Gurney
A mid-life crisis threatens to unravel a
marriage and a dog becomes the center of an unlikely love triangle
in this heartwarming tale that examines relationships and the search
for meaning in life. Greg and Kate are empty nesters in the big
city. On a walk in the park, Greg is adopted by Sylvia, a bouncy,
frisky poodle mix. Soon, Kate feels that she is losing Greg to his
adoring new friend. This imaginative take on midlife crisis leads to
lots of laughs and thoughtful insights on love, marriage and
jealousy. A howling-ly comic valentine where an exceptionally
engaging canine becomes a bone of contention. Contains adult
subject matter and language.
|| STEVE AYLE
||ROBERT W. HENDERSON, JR.
||BRADLEE E. BING
Seniors (65+) $28
Students (13+) $28
Children (5-12) $20
(under 5 not
Wednesday matinees $20
In A.R. Gurney comedy, a dog is one man’s best friend
January 18, 2017 by Steve Parks
WHAT “Sylvia” by A.R. Gurney Jr.
WHEN | WHERE Through Feb. 4.
Upcoming: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday, Theatre
Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson TICKETS $35, $28 seniors and
students, $20 ages 5-12; 631-928-9100, theatrethree.com
A.R. Gurney says that when he presented
“Sylvia” to prospective producers in the 1990s, the comedy was
rejected because “it equated a dog with a woman, and to ask a
woman to play a dog is not just misogynist but blatantly
sexist.” Yet in this tale of a man in the throes of his midlife
crisis, he falls in love with a female stray instead of buying a
At Theatre Three, in the wake of the
acclaimed 2015 Broadway debut of “Sylvia,” starring Matthew
Broderick as the dog lover — it ran Off-Broadway 20 years
earlier — Bradlee Bing has cast and directed a gleefully adept
ensemble in an absurd examination of the extremes to which
alienation leads us. And this, although the program notes that
“Sylvia” is set in the present, was written before smartphone
addiction. We need to feel connected, Gurney is saying. In that
sense, “Sylvia” is more relevant today. A dog can’t post selfies
or tweet in no more than 140 characters.
We meet Greg as
he brings a dog name-tagged “Sylvia,” which he found in the
park, to the empty-nester Manhattan apartment (inviting
indoor/outdoor set by Randall Parsons) he shares with his wife,
Kate. She disapproves, referring to the dog as “Saliva.” But
Greg is smitten, feeling a need to feel needed.
unsolicited advice when he takes her to a park where unleashing
is permissible. Tom, owner of an alpha dog named Bowser, warns
him about the threat to his marriage. Tom should know. But Greg
is oblivious to this and other warning signs pointed out by
Kate’s friend Phyllis and by Leslie, an androgynous marriage
counselor — all played with over-the-top gusto by Matt Senese.
Steve Ayle as Greg brings a seductive everyman quality to
the role — suggesting, however implausibly, that this could
happen to any man bored in his marriage and career. Linda May as
Kate presents a formidable yet helpless counterpoint to Greg’s
seemingly unnatural obsession. But the all-fours play belongs to
Brittany Lacey, brilliantly aping canine mannerisms as Sylvia,
even in her at-times unrestrained — language alert! — speech
patterns. Tell us what you really think of cats, Sylvia.
Unlike Facebook “friends,” dogs must be touched, fed and spoken
to — usually, Twitter fans may be happy to hear, in minimal
syllables. Sylvia yawns whenever Greg gets philosophical.
the Village Times review of Sylvia