by A. R. Gurney
This summer, get ready to laugh your tail off! Elements Theatre Company presents A. R. Gurney’s play, Sylvia—a smart, playful, sophisticated and occasionally gritty comedy about relationships, nature, and growing older. A recent Broadway hit, Sylvia tells the entertaining story of an exuberant, lovable dog who changes the lives of a middle aged couple. Greg and Kate have entered the empty-nest time in life and have moved to Manhattan after 20 years in the suburbs. Greg is struggling with being dissatisfied with his job while Kate is excited about her new teaching opportunities and new found freedom. Sylvia enters into the middle of their relationship, challenging their marriage and their habitual points of view.
“Dramatic literature is stuffed with memorable love scenes, but none is as immediately delicious and dizzy as the one that begins the redeeming affair in A.R. Gurney’s new comedy, Sylvia…” – The New York Times
“The genius of the play is that Sylvia concentrates just as much on what our actions and feelings as humans means to dogs as they do to us. It’s revelation. Not only is Gurney one of the most important chroniclers of middle class life, but an absolute genius at rip roaring comedy as well.” – Berkshire On Stage
Performances: August 11 – 13 & 18 – 20, 7:30pm
Dinner Theatre: Saturdays, 12 & 19 at 6:00pm
Paraclete House, Rock Harbor, Orleans, MA
Play only: $35 Regular; $30 Seniors; Free for 18 & under
Dinner & Play: $65 Regular; $60 Seniors; $30 for 18 & under
Cast & Staff
Cast & Staff
A. R. Gurney, Playwright
2013 – 2017
- A. R. (“Pete”) Gurney was born in 1930 into a prosperous family in Buffalo, New York, “surrounded by plays” – at school, on the radio, at charity performances, weekend trips to theatres and Broadway.
- He attended Buffalo’s Nicholas School, attended boarding school at St. Paul’s School in Concord, N.H., graduated from Williams College in 1952 and served as an officer in the Navy, on a giant aircraft carrier during the Korean War.
- He’s known for loving musicals and while on the aircraft carrier that had a ship’s orchestra, he wrote musicals. He loved it and because of it, went to Yale School of Drama.
- For many years, he taught literature at M.I.T., but moved to New York in 1982 to devote more time to writing for the theatre.
- He liked to write about issues people can understand and identify with, about his own experiences. He’s written plays about falling in love and how to deal with kids. When his started to leave the nest, he wrote about that. As he was getting older, he’wrote about that.
- He was one of the most prolific and often produced playwrights, author of close to 50 plays, including The Dining Room, The Cocktail hour, Love Letters, The Perfect Party and Sylvia.
- At 85, he wrote Love and Money.
- He is a member of the Theatre Hall of Fame and of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
- He received a special Obie Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 61st Annual Obie Awards, 2016.
- Gurney was married to his wife Molly for over fifty years and they have four children and eight grandchildren.
- Their homes are in Roxbury, Connecticut and New York City. They loved six dogs over the years who were: Porgy, Sambo, Alice, Joe, Snoozer and Bill.
Remembered by Many …
“A rarity of rarities who wrote witty, thoughtful plays…his best are eloquent and intensely elegiac portraits. He is an American master, one of the best playwrights that we have.”
-Terry Teachout, The Wallstreet Journal Drama Critic ; Art Critic-at-large Commentary, NYC
“Appealed to everyone, no matter where you were on the social ladder; he had a way to find that thread that linked us all.” – Buffalo News
“He wrote delightful plays that are witty, urbane, endlessly inventive, just plain funny, but underneath the sparkling entertainment lies the modest but profound human feelings. He always had an abiding, very deep concern for his characters that is the hallmark of the very best dramatists. He has changed the way we look at ourselves.” – A long-time colleague, Romulus Linney, founding playwright of the Signature Theatre Co., NYC
“We loved that he was fearless – but in such an elegant and heartfelt manner. The stories he told were real and true. He gave to his characters much humanity and even more humility. Actors too countless to list, loved Gurney’s work for the challenges it offered and directors loved it for the subtlety of the writing. Audiences loved it for both reasons.
Pete was renowned for being prolific, but really, we think he just liked to be in the theater. He was energized by directors, loved actors and he was also a remarkable craftsman, with a deep knowledge of the classics. ” – Director & Actors, The Flea Theatre, NYC
“He said “I sensed the comforts of civilization- but also its discontents, what you give up. The emotions are carefully trained, ultimately honed, tamped down.” He devoted his life to bringing those feelings to the surface.” – The New York Times
“Peter Gurney was one of American Theater’s wittiest storytellers. His perfect timing and heart, beat on through his plays. It was an honor to play one of his pups and an honor to know such a beautiful human spirit.” –Anneliegh Ashford, “Sylvia” on Broadway 2015
News & Reviews
News & Reviews
From The Cape Cod Chronicle: “Danielle Dwyer deftly directs this comedy about mid-life transitions and tensions. …stellar portrayal of Sylvia.” Read full article
Earlier performance: In celebration and remembrance of A. R. “Pete” Gurney, we want to share with you this video clip of some scenes from Elements’ performance of one of his masterpieces, The Dining Room, including several people sharing their experience watching Elements’ perform it. We hope you’ll join Elements as they perform his comedy, Sylvia, this August 11-13 and 18-20. … Watch here
From the Director
From the Director
We are blessed to have creatures like dogs around us.
They can easily change our mood—from grumpy to light-hearted. Even on a bad day, they wait for us to sit with them, or go on a walk. They teach us about unconditional love, and what it means to be in the present, moment to moment. They are gifts to us, especially when they remind us to feed them or take them out, putting us in touch with our humanity, interrupting our own busy-ness. Dogs become an invitation to live outside of ourselves, and to enjoy the world around us.
“Because of the dog’s joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift. It is not the least reason why we should honor as well as love the dog of our own life, and the dog down the street, and all the dogs not yet born. What would the world be like without music or rivers or the green and tender grass? What would this world be like without dogs?”
Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
This past June, A.R. Gurney died. Along with much of the world, we are sad to have lost a favorite playwright of Elements Theatre Company. We have experienced Gurney’s view of life through the The Dining Room and, now, in the world of Sylvia. We thank you, Mr. Gurney, for leaving behind these riches of your heart and imagination.
Enjoy the show,
See and Hear
See and Hear
Dress Rehearsal in Joppa Building
Behind the Scenes Rehearsal Photos for SylviaFirst Read of Sylvia