Originally created 11/07/97

Actress leads dog's life

Greg had a really bad day at work. He had a fight with his boss, realized he hated his job and quit.

He went to the park.

That's where he met Sylvia. The moment her brown eyes met his, they connected. She loved him, and he loved her.

So he took her home.

His wife wasn't too happy about that. She wanted the [filtered word] out of her apartment immediately.

She didn't want the dog. He did.

That's the opening for Sylvia, a canine comedy to be staged at the Fort Gordon Dinner Theatre today, Saturday, Nov. 14-15 and Nov. 20-22.

There's no four-footed, shaggy scene-stealer, no Benji or Lassie, on the Fort Gordon stage. Instead, Sylvia the mongrel pooch is played by Kay Gross. It's not your everyday role, and that was a cause for concern.

"I hope the audience sees me as a dog and a woman both," says Ms. Gross, who has been studying Alpo commercials and the neighborhood mutts sniffing, licking, pawing and scratching. "The playfulness, the curiosity, the wanting of attention, the seeking of love and approval" are there in both.

On the surface, the four-actor show's about Greg (Russell Snow) and Sylvia, a poodle mutt he finds in the park. It's also about the love that grows as he leads her around the city, walking farther away from his wife, Kate (Meredith Head).

Greg likes Sylvia for a million reasons. He saved her. He's her knight in shining armor. She thinks he's God.

She needs him. And it's very nice to be needed.

No one else needs Greg right now. His kids are off at school, and his wife has her master's degree and is trying to teach Shakespeare to inner-city seventh-graders. She doesn't need him.

Sylvia does.

And she listens to him. When he talks about his hopes and dreams, she doesn't nag him. When he says that life doesn't seem real anymore, when he says that he wants to quit his job - that's fine with Sylvia. Sylvia doesn't care. Sylvia just wants him to be happy.

She becomes a lot more fun to be with than his wife. His wife is nagging him about paying the kids' tuition. His wife wants him to apologize to his boss. His wife wants him to be a grown-up.

Sylvia doesn't care.

Sylvia just wants to love him and kiss him and gaze at him with those wide, wet unblinking eyes. She wants to play.

"I could be this man's red Porsche or the other woman," said Ms. Gross. "He's just tired of his life plodding along in a direction he doesn't want to go. On one level, I am a dog. On another level, I stand for excitement."

On stage

What: Sylvia
When: 8 tonight and Saturday night and Nov. 14, 15, 20, 21 and 22; dinner starts at 7 each evening.
Where: Fort Gordon Dinner Theatre
How much: $26 adults, $23 senior citizens and military personnel.
Phone: 793-8552


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