OK, I had every intention going into the weekend to see Macbeth in Ojai–and then to review it as part of this week’s Media Thursday. Alas, the best-laid schemes of mice and men… Macbeth was only available for a matinee, and given I was kicking off my “Shakespeare for Actors” course (teaching, not taking) on Saturday, that made the Scottish play a virtual non-starter. But I was itching to catch some local theater, and so Saturday night, I ventured off to Camarillo Skyway Playhouse (where I had left just 7 hours earlier after the end of said Shakespeare class) to catch the opening weekend of Sylvia by A.R. Gurney.
I had heard of the play, but had never seen it. But I know a bunch of folks behind the scenes, and the focal point of the play is played by the Beatrice of the Much Ado I was in last year, so it was something I wanted to check out.
And I’m so glad I did.
For those who don’t know the story, it’s about a middle-aged man Greg who finds a dog named Sylvia and on a whim (cough mid-life crisis cough) takes her in, much to the dismay and chagrin of his wife (and Shakespeare-teacher) Kate. We see the ripple effects of this decision, and we get to see it with dialogue between both the human and canine characters of the show. And Genevieve Levin–the rock-solid Beatrice of yesteryear–delivers a hilarous(ly foul-mouthed) performance as the titular dog.
Damned funny. Especially for this dog owner. A number of times Lisa and I turned to each other and whispered, “Russell.” If this play is anything close to truth, then we now know what he’s saying when he goes apesh!t when the doorbell rings (“Hey! Hey! Hey! HEY HEY HEY!”). And his reaction to cats on our morning walks is pretty much what I expected…I’d repeat it here but I don’t want to have to drop an “explicit content” warning on this post…let’s just say, Sylvia plumbs the depths of Al Swearengen-level profanity.
The rest of the small cast is top-notch, the direction by Kimberly Demmary solid, the set beautiful, and it is a fun and funny night of theater.
I give it four paws up…
Oh, and by the way, the title of today’s blog entry is an actual quote from the play (what’s not to love)…