New dog tests couple in WilsonvilleSTAGE play
As a newfound empty nester, WilsonvilleSTAGE Director Aaron Morrow can relate to the problems the characters in the upcoming production of "Sylvia" face as they transition to a new phase in their life.
Morrow hopes audiences will find their own connections — and maybe laugh a little as well.
"They'll laugh a lot and maybe cry a little, but they'll walk away feeling like they have gone through a story they find entertaining and compelling," Morrow said.
After tackling a bombastic farce of Shakespearean proportions earlier this year, the Wilsonville theater company is venturing into another comedic genre for its upcoming show — romantic comedy.
Performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25 and 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26 at Charbonneau Country Club and at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 2-3 and Nov. 8-10 and 2:30 p.m. Nov. 3 and Nov. 10 at the Wilsonville Public Library. Ticket prices range from $15-18. For more information, visit www.wilsonvillestage.org.
"Sylvia" centers around two characters — Jeff and Kate — whose children recently transitioned to adulthood. Throughout the show, the characters wrestle with aspirations they previously had left unspoken — Greg wanted to switch careers and Kate wanted to enter the work force. Their new dog, Sylvia, who Greg found in the park and brought home, exacerbates Kate's frustrations.
"The one that resonates with me the most, there's a conflict that takes place where you sense the resentment of one of the partners having to wait on their aspirations until the kids are out of the house and then, suddenly, having to wait again because of the introduction of the dog," Morrow said. "You see the resentment, but also how important the relationship is to each other.
'We've had careers, kids. We can get through this too.'"
The character of Sylvia isn't played by a dog, but by actress Kate Barrett.
"As a dog owner, you get so much out of it. The way the author has put this together it establishes this dog character so well, so by the end of the show the audience actually sees this person as a canine," Morrow said.
But he said what makes
the play work is the con-
vincing performances of Kate and Greg, played by Laur-
en Pickthorn and Tanner Morton.
"From the moment she (Pickthorn) auditioned, it was clear she knew how to create that connection. She does a great and convincing job of creating this love triangle that's taking place," Morrow said. "It's very truthful. I think people don't have a difficult time looking at these two actors, and they are this married couple."
The play also includes actor Tyson Redifer, who plays three roles: a chauvinistic male, a socialite female and a gender neutral therapist.
The group has been rehearsing since early September, and one of the challenges is that they won't be able to step foot on either set prior to showtime.
On the bright side, Morrow said the show isn't overly dependent on the set and that the actors will have some wiggle room to determine how to patrol the stage.
Morrow actually once acted in a performance of "Sylvia" and found himself moved during the shows, even though he knew the plot.
"If the actors do the right thing you find yourself being
a part of the story," Morrow said.
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