Category Archive for: ‘Go See’

RVP Kicks Off Its 87th Season With Sylvia, A Delightful Romantic Comedy By A. R. Gurney



Sylvia is a hilarious romp through the complexities of married life, directed by Buzz Halsing, with Assistant Director Heather Gordon. As we take our seats, we are greeted by an elegant set, designed by Sasha Oaks and constructed by Eugene DeChristopher.  In the background, we see the skyline of Manhattan, beautifully lit by Ellen Brooks.  The set is divided into three sections with ivy growing over the entire front of the stage.  On stage right are a tree and bench – representing a park.  The main part of the set is a comfortable mid-1990s apartment in Manhattan.  On stage left we see Madam Tesla’s office.  The Sound Design by the well-known Billie Cox puts us in the mood with songs like “Every Time We Say Goodbye I Cry A Little.”

This critic would call Sylvia a light-hearted love story with an unusual cast of characters and excellent Costume Design by Michael A. Berg.  Greg (Keith Jefferds) and Kate (Jennifer Reimer) have moved to Manhattan after 22 years of child-rearing in the suburbs.  Greg’s career as a Financial Trader is winding down, while Kate’s career as a Public School English Teacher is beginning to offer her more opportunities.


One day, Greg brings home a dog he found in the park (or we should say – the dog has found him) bearing only the name of “Sylvia” on its nametag.  A street-smart Labradoodle, Sylvia (Jannelly Calmell) becomes a major bone of contention between husband and wife.  Sylvia offers Greg an escape from the frustrations of his job and the unknowns of middle-age.  To Kate, Sylvia becomes a rival for Greg’s affection, and Sylvia thinks Kate just doesn’t understand the relationship between a man and his dog.


The marriage is put into serious jeopardy, and there are a series of hilarious and touching complications helped along by Tom (Jim Fye), another dog-owner who befriends Greg in the park; also by trans-gender Phyllis (again Jim Fye) an upper-crust friend of Kate’s; and Leslie Anderson (also played by Jim Fye) – Madam Tesla – whom Greg and Kate consult.  Madam Tesla  is a marriage counselor in need of help herself – that is, in need of their business.

I can understand why Sylvia by A. R. Gurney has played to rave reviews and enthusiastic audiences. Director Buzz Halsing has made this romp a lot of fun for the audience and (obviously) the performers.

Flora Lynn Isaacson

Photo Credit: Gregg LeBlanc

Sylvia began September 16 and will run through the 2:00 p.m. performance on October 16.  Regular performances are scheduled for Thursdays 7:30 p.m., Fridays 8:00 p.m., Saturdays 8:00 p.m., and Sunday Matinees are at 2:00 p.m.  For tickets to Sylvia, go online to or call 800/838-3006 (Brown Paper Tickets). A reservation line is available at 415/456-9555 extension 1, and tickets for Private and Sponsored performances or School Groups may be purchased by telephone, 415/456-9555 extension 3. All performances take place at The Barn Theater Marin Art & Garden Center, home of the Ross Valley Players, 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Ross.

Coming up next at RVP November 11 through December 18, 2016: H.M.S. Pinafore by W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, Directed by James Dunn.

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