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‘Sylvia’ hits home

by Wendi Reardon

April 17, 2013

Sylvia (Alyssa Singles) excitedly meets Kate (Mason Van Gieson) for the first time.
Alyssa Singles caught the ball and ran around the stage excitedly as the Clarkston High School Drama Club prepared for next week's spring production of "Sylvia."

Singles plays Sylvia, the dog causing chaos in the plot between married couple Greg and Kate, played by Carl Meyer and Mason Van Gieson.

"Sylvia is the alter ego which helps them travel through this adventure," explained Jeff Tice, theater director. "They go through a lot of stuff - serious and quite hilarious."

"Like a normal dog, I spaz out at everything. I bark," said Singles. "There is a lot of running around and being crazy and that is a lot of who I am."

Sylvia comes into the home as Greg and Kate are in the September portion of their lives and dealing with problems along the way.

Meyer explained his character is a 55-year-old and has come to the point in his life he doesn't care about a lot of things.

"He is losing interest in a lot in his life," he added. "He is becoming more detached from the business world and living as a free spirit. He starts off playing with the dog and trying to get his wife to like her."

As Greg is battling with his identity, his wife is as well. Van Gieson explained Kate's identity has been as his wife, and she is beginning to step out of it by getting a job as a teacher.

"She is very tired," she added. "She is tired of picking up after everybody. She wants to take her September years and take care of herself. She finds Greg skipping out on his responsibilities even more tiring. She is not in favor of Sylvia's presence in the family. She goes to some lengths to hold her marriage together. She is a very relatable character. I like her. "

Sylvia tests the marriage as the story develops and the plot thickens for the characters.

Helping Greg and Kate out with their relationships with each other and Sylvia are Phyllis, played by Jessica Tucker; Tom, played by Christian Taylor; and Leslie, played by Charlie Fallis.

Phyllis is an old friend of Kate and a socialite, Tucker explained.

"She is over the top and I am, too," she smiled. "I like to let loose and have fun."

Tom tries to help Greg through his problems with the dog and his marriage, said Taylor.

"He has been there and has seen what happens when a guy gets attached to his dog," explained Taylor. "He really tries to be a sage to him but does not succeed as well as hoped. He is just so off the wall and very arrogant. He is very eccentric and weird. It was so fun to get into the character because it is something I am not used to being."

Trying to help both sides in the marital struggle is therapist Leslie, a gender neutral character.

"It's not really certain if Leslie is a guy or a girl," Fallis said. "It is to be determined by patients. Leslie tries to help people. Leslie's lines are hilarious."

"Sylvia" is rated PG for language and crude humor. It is being performed at Clarkston High School Performing Arts Center on April 26 and 27, 7 p.m.

Tickets are available for $8 and can be reserved by calling the box office at 248-623-4024. They can also be purchased at the door before the performances.

"It is really something you need to see," added Tice. "We are pretty excited."

"It's a great show," said Meyer. "It's hilarious. It is a good story and it hits home. It makes you think a lot. It has a lot of deep and hidden meaning."