CMC Theatre’s opener, ‘Sylvia,’ is real (dog) treat |

CMC Theatre’s opener, ‘Sylvia,’ is real (dog) treat

Contributed report
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Photo courtesy Scot Gerdes/CMC

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – When it comes to marriage, three’s a crowd. That’s the way A.R. Gurney’s character Kate sees it when she meets Sylvia, “the other woman.”

Kate’s husband Greg has really fallen for Sylvia. She’s gorgeous, young, playful and even worshipful. Sylvia is a dog.

On Thursday, Oct. 7, Colorado Mountain College Theatre opens its new season with this play named for its canine character, “Sylvia.”

Sylvia becomes a bone of contention when Greg brings her home after finding her in the park. His wife Kate is not as pleased as he had hoped.

Greg pleads, “I really want her,” while Kate retorts, “I really don’t,” setting up the key impasse of the play.

Taking center stage between them, Sylvia the dog doesn’t just say “woof” and roll over. She has a woman’s name and womanly traits. She’s animated, sexy and verbose, a fulfillment for soul-searching Greg, a threat to Kate.

Director G. Thomas Cochran says, “This role is to be played, not as dog, but as a human who invokes some characteristics of a dog.”

The playwright, Cochran explains, “wrote the dog as a very cute, precocious young woman, a surrogate sex object for the man, setting up a love triangle of sorts.”

Taking on the challenge of playing Sylvia is Sophie Sakson, a Colorado Mountain College student who performed in last season’s “Pride and Prejudice” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

In the debut of this A.R. Gurney play, it was Sarah Jessica Parker who famously played Sylvia. Sakson has never before seen a production of “Sylvia,” giving her what she sees an advantage in playing the part.

“I’ve been required to develop the role for myself from scratch,” Sakson says. “This is good, because I have no preconceived notion of what Sylvia the dog should and should not be like. This gives me a tremendous amount of freedom to experiment.”

Cast in the roles of Greg and Kate are Jamie Spry and China Kwan. Spry is a veteran of the local Defiance Theater, where he played Daddy Warbucks in “Annie” and The Father in “Meet Me in St. Louis,” among many others. This is his first appearance in a CMC Theatre production.

Kwan was last seen on the Colorado Mountain College stage as Lenka in “Rock ‘n’ Roll.” She also appeared in the 2009 International V-day presentation of “The Vagina Monologues.”

Rounding out the cast in triple roles as Tom, Phyllis and Leslie is CMC Theatre’s program director and associate professor Gary Ketzenbarger.

“It’s common in this particular play for one person to play three of the roles,” he explains. “It’s part of the fun to see one person have to play very different characters of different genders.”

Spry believes that “Sylvia” is a play everyone can relate to, whether in the way they perceive and treat their dogs, the challenges of middle age or the anxiety of disagreement in a marriage.

Director Cochran says, “I haven’t directed a modern comedy in a long time. It’s been a lot of fun. There’s a truth to it of how we deal with the modern world.”

Curtain time is 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 7-9 and 14-16, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Oct. 17. All performances take place at the New Space Theatre inside the Calaway Academic Building on the CMC campus at Spring Valley, 3000 County Road 114 near Glenwood Springs.

Note: This production does include adult language which may be inappropriate for children.

Advance tickets are recommended and reservations can be made by calling 947-8177 or sending an e-mail to

Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students, seniors, staff and faculty. Season tickets are also available. Season ticket holders will have a reserved seat at each of the season’s five performances for the price of four performances.

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