Dogs are often called man’s best friend, but the newest play from Odyssey Productions will put that theory to the test.
‘Sylvia’ tells the story of an abandoned dog found in a park and brought home to a new family, where she immediately drives a wedge between husband Greg, played by Alderic Georget, and wife Kat, played by Patty Hudye-Koroluk.
Despite the tension, director Kim Morrall described ‘Sylvia’ as a fun show about relationships, love, and pets that she thinks theatre-goers will respond to.
“It’s very touching and warm,” Morrall said. “I think anyone who has had a dog will definitely relate. It’s a really good play, and it was interesting to direct someone to be an animal.”
While other plays may use stuffed animals or actual dogs in their productions, ‘Sylvia’ relies on the human element. Shania Cabilao plays the lead role of a dog looking for a family, and while it’s quite different from a regular role, Cabilao has embraced the challenge.
“Sometimes, dog owners talk to their animals like they’re people, and I feel like Sylvia’s kind of toeing the line of being a dog, but then also being a person that you see every day,” said Cabilao, who trained at the Canadian College of Performing Arts in Victoria, B.C. before returning to Prince Albert.
“The thing that attracted me the most was the physicality of Sylvia—I love things that are very clownish, like a lot of big, goofy, movements—and then how crazy the story was, because it’s about a dog coming between a marriage. I thought it was ridiculous, and I love the comedy of it all.”
This is Cabilao’s first time performing with Odyssey Productions. She said it’s been a great experience, and is eager to get the play on stage.
“We’ve all put so much work into it,” she said. “Now, I’m just really excited to take our hard work and show it to everyone.”
‘Sylvia’ was written by American playwright and novelist A.R. Gurney. It was first performed in New York in 1995, and ran for more than 150 performances.
Morrall said two Odyssey Theatre board members saw the play at a festival last year in Saskatchewan and immediately fell in love with it. They then convinced her to come on board as director.
“I read (the script), and I was like, ‘yeah, this is cute’,” Morrall explained. “I really liked it. It just appealed to me because it served as drama, but there’s comedy, and it’s a little bit of a musical number. It just has a bit of everything.”
‘Sylvia’ opens on Wednesday, April 19 at the Prince Albert Wildlife Federation building north of Prince Albert and runs until April 22. The Thursday and Friday shows are dinner theatre performances.
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