New production goes to the dogs
There are several folksy ideas in life we just kind of accept as truths: You don't wear white after Labor Day, laughter is the best medicine and dog is man's best friend.
Travis Coates had Old Yeller, the Turner Family had Lassie and Greg, as played by Nathan Wright, has Sylvia.
Just in time for Christmas, the Wolf Pack Theater at 39570 Mt. Hood Highway in Sandy, presents A.R. Gurney's comedy of "Sylvia" at 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7.
"You have this great theme of unconditional love and you combine it with endless opportunities for humor and you end up with this beautiful, heartwarming comedy," said director and theater owner Howard Bickle, Jr. "Any dog lover or animal lover is going to identify with this play."
The play follows a couple, Kate and Greg, after Greg unilaterally adopts Sylvia, a stray poodle mix. In an odd twist, Sylvia is played by a woman (Melissa Swenson) showcasing an interesting dynamic between Greg and his new best friend, one his wife (Erin Bass) both loathes and comes to be jealous of.
Though the road is bumpy for Greg and Kate throughout the play, with Sylvia causing the rift in the empty-nesters' relationship, comedy is constantly there to save the mood.
"They're just breathing comical life into the script," Bickle said of his cast. "It's so funny and yet you're able to see how these animals can change your perspective on things."
Kate's friend Phyllis, a fellow dog-park-goer and an androgynous psychiatrist, all played by KB Mercer, serve to heighten the comedy and feed drama into the situation between Kate, Greg and Sylvia.
"I've given everybody the chance to be funny," Bickle noted. The director admits he has deviated slightly from the original script with his production, but only to make the play more widely appealing — a cleaner, more family friendly version.
"This show is going to put a genuine smile on people's faces during the holiday season," he added. "And that just means the world to me."
"Sylvia" will run from Dec. 7 through Jan. 7 with shows at 8 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and a 2 p.m. matinee on Sundays.
Tickets are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors and students and members of law enforcement, firefighters and veterans may attend free of charge with valid identification.
Tickets are available online at www.eventbrite.com/e/wolf-pack-theater-presents-sylvia-by-a-r-gurney-tickets-39944842098, and the doors open 30 minutes before each show.