‘Sylvia’ barks up
the right tree
Cast reassembles for production
By DANA DUGAN
Express Staff Writer
Warning: This play is a dog.
No kidding. The New Theatre
Company’s production of "Sylvia" is a play about a pesky dog and a
seemingly stable New York couple. It’s to be mounted—or rather
remounted—Feb. 12 through 21 at the nexStage Theatre in Ketchum. Curtain
time is 8 p.m.
In fact, NTC mounted this play
with the same cast eight years ago. Joyce E. Greene directed.
"Sylvia" by A. R. Gurney was first
produced in May 1995 by the Manhattan Theatre Club. That production
starred Blythe Danner, Charles Kimbrough and Sarah Jessica Parker—to
whom the play is dedicated—in the title role.
Claudia McCain and David
Blampied play owner and pet in the production of "Syliva" opening
next week at nexStage Theatre. Courtesy photo
Not incidentally, NTC has Claudia
McCain in the title role as the pooch, Sylvia. David Blampied and Joyce
E. Greene play the couple, Steve d’Smith plays several roles and the
play is directed by Robert Rais. Greene has jetted in from New York
where she’s a singer to appear in this show with her old comrades.
The play concerns a middle aged
husband who brings a stray dog home to his New York apartment. His wife,
Kate, is not all that pleased by the unexpected addition to the family.
Can a mere canine break up a marriage? Maybe it can, since due to the
presence of the amenable pooch, the marriage, once apparently earthbound
and secure, takes to the high seas in a very rocky boat.
Now a tad more mature, the
original cast has reassembled for the production. In that time,
Blampied’s New Theatre Company has grown, producing a New Play Reading
Series each year and at least one full fledged production. Blampied, who
had never owned a dog at the time of the first production, now has a
constant companion, Jack, a Jack Russell.
Gurney, being a dog lover, brings
a heightened awareness to the role of the husband.
"My take is completely different
now," Blampied admitted. "I react differently, my natural instincts and
the way I talk to Sylvia. It’s unconditional love. With a pet its almost
always there. I had no idea. The most special thing is that look, the
face, you recognize what its thinking and what it would say if it could
speak. It was a shock to me.
"There’s a line in the play," he
continued, " ‘You’d think I was going to India when I leave, the look on
Sylvia’s face.’ "This particular play is Gurney’s take on relationships.
This is the beauty of ‘Sylvia.’ There are the relationships between
characters. He gives you a kaleidoscope of relationships to laugh at,
but look at the absurdity of any of our relationships."
Gurney writes incredibly comic
plays with great intelligence such as "The Cocktail Hour," "The Dining
Room," "Love Letters," "The Golden Age" and "Sweet Sue." In fact, NTC
decided to produce "Sylvia" after so many people expressed their desire
to see them mount it again.
Tickets for "Sylvia" are available
for purchase through nexStage’s new ticket hotline, 726-4tks, or online
at ticketweb.com. The box office is open at the theater on Main Street
Thursday, Friday and Saturday, from 4 to 6 p.m. During the run of the
show the box office is open until 7 p.m.