MC Theatre Department presents "Sylvia" Dec. 7-9

Nov. 13, 2012
Contact: Mary Moates ’14, Communications Assistant

The Maryville College Theatre Department will perform A.R. Gurney’s “Sylvia” Dec. 7-9.

Set in New York in the 1990s, Gurney’s play about a man and his dog has been a staple of the American theatre since its premiere in 1995. In the play, Greg finds a dog, Sylvia, in the park and brings her home to introduce her to his wife Kate, who is less than happy about this new addition to the family. The resulting tension between Kate and Sylvia puts a strain on Greg and Kate’s marriage, as he becomes more and more infatuated with his canine companion.

Performances are scheduled for 8 p.m. Dec. 7-8 and 2 p.m. on Dec. 9 in the Clayton Center for the Arts’ Haslam Family Flex Theatre.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for seniors, MC Theatre alumni and area students. Admission is free for MC students, faculty and staff, although a printed ticket is required for admission. You may purchase tickets online or by calling the Clayton Center Box Office at 865.981.8590.

The production is directed by senior theatre major Leslie Owle of Cherokee, N.C., as part of her senior thesis project on directing.

Owle said that she chose “Sylvia” because she has always had a special place in her heart for dogs.

“I started by looking for a play that was focused on dogs,” Owle said. “I also like romantic comedies, so when this play was suggested to me, I fell in love with it.”

Owle said that she thinks people will enjoy seeing the play because even though it has a comedic air, it also deals with different life issues that many people can relate to.

“I think the most prominent theme of ‘Sylvia’ is how society deals with change,” Owle said. “A.R. Gurney has made a career of trying to decipher how people respond to change and adjust their lives, depending on how they react to the change.”

Dr. Heather McMahon, associate professor of theatre at Maryville College, is Owle’s thesis advisor. She said that Owle will not only learn all kinds of skills that pertain to theatre directly, such as how to block scenes and schedule rehearsals, but she will also gain skills that could help her in any field, such as collaborating with various personalities, managing a budget and working on a deadline.

“On a practical level, employers love seeing that students have been able to follow through on a project of this magnitude,” McMahon said. “It is a challenge to keep a full-length production moving along smoothly while going to class and doing your homework.”

The play is presented by the College’s Alpha Psi Omega honor society. Sophomore Cameron Hite of Kingsport, Tenn., will play Greg, and sophomore Sara Deatherage of Knoxville, Tenn., will play his wife, Kate. Sylvia will be played by sophomore Sarah Bond of Memphis, Tenn.

The cast also includes Taylor Jackson of Jefferson City, Tenn., as Leslie, Tom and Phyllis.

Freshman Haley Sullivan of Franklin, Tenn., is the stage manager, and Jennifer Luck is the technical director.

For information about the production, please contact McMahon at 865.981.8161 or

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2016 semester is 1,198.