Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Vermont Stage Co.'s "Sylvia" And My Future With Dogs

Last night, I saw the excellent preview performance of the Vermont Stage Company's latest production, "Sylvia," and it got me thinking about my inevitable future with dogs.

"Sylvia" is about a guy named Greg (played by Stephen Bradbury) going through a mid-life crisis who finds a dog named Sylvia. He brings Sylvia home, much to the dismay of his wife Kate (played by Melissa Lourie)

The dog, Sylvia, is played hilariously by Kathryn Blume.  She articulates the thoughts of the dog as she becomes established in the household and changes the relationships with everybody involved.
Vermont Stage Company is presenting
the excellent play "Sylvia" through May 8

Go see this play. It's sweet and funny and touching. It's cleverly written, and, as usual for Vermont Stage, it's done just beautifully. It runs through May 8.

The whole play is deceptively simple, but it really gets you thinking about how something as seemingly simple as an ordinary dog changes people and their relatonships in complex, sometimes scary ways.

Jeff, who by the way, is the set designer for "Sylvia,"  and I are thinking about getting a dog, and the play made me think about how this future dog will change us. I don't think it will be anything as dramatic as in "Sylvia." I won't give the play's plot away, but there are scary moments within some longstanding relationships in the production.

I haven't had a dog in decades. Jeff is an expert at dog companionship.  When a dog moves into our home, I first and foremost want to do right by the dog. The dog needs to be loved, safe and happy. I want to ensure the dog trusts me, and knows that I have his or her best interests at heart.

At the same time, I don't want to let the dog take over my whole life, or change my relationships in any negative way.

I told Jeff he'll have to train the dog, and train me to be a great companion to the dog.

It goes without saying the dog will change my relationship. At the intermission of "Sylvia" I was growing fearful about what a dog might do to my life.  Will it be a grenade that blows up everything I've established in terms of my domestic bliss? But at the end of the performance, however, I was reassured. I just have to be open to change and love, at least if "Sylvia"'s playwright, A. R. Gurney is correct.

A dog is without guile. He or she won't really try to undermine my life, or my relationships, my sense of balance. He or she will just want to join my "pack" and be happy.

Just by being there, the dog will have effects on my life. It turns out it's up to me, not Fido to ensure the dog will change my life in a positive way.

I don't know what kind of dog we'll get or when we'll get him or her. The more I think about it, though, the more I find the challenge of having a dog companion incredibly appealing. I can't wait to meet him or  her.

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