‘Sylvia’ (A Dog)

Dog's Monologue from A.R. Gurney Sylvia

‘Sylvia’ by A.R. Gurney

From: Play

Type: Comedic

Character: A Dog

Gender: Female

Age Range: 20's | 30's | 40's

Summary: Greg and Kate have moved to Manhattan after twenty-two years of child-raising in the suburbs. Greg's career as a financial trader is winding down, while Kate's career, as a public-school English teacher, is beginning to offer her more opportunities. Greg brings home a dog he found in the park—or that has found him—bearing only the name "Sylvia" on her name tag. A street-smart mixture of Lab and Poodle, Sylvia becomes a major bone of contention between husband and wife. She offers Greg an escape from the frustrations of his job and the unknowns of middle age. To Kate, Sylvia becomes a rival for affection. And Sylvia thinks Kate just doesn't understand the relationship between man and dog. The marriage is put in serious jeopardy until, after a series of hilarious and touching complications, Greg and Kate learn to compromise, and Sylvia becomes a valued part of their lives.

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A Dog: Hey! I’m looking around. I gotta get used to things. I’m not ready to sit. I’m too nervous to sit. I’m worried about where I sleep. Do I sleep on this couch? (Reacts to a quick smack) Ouch. I’m sitting, I’m sitting. You don’t have to hit, you know. It most certainly did hurt. You ought to be sorry. O.k. (Master reads, Sylvia sits looking at him) I love you. I really do. Even when you hit me, I love you. I think you’re God, if you want to know. I want to sit near you. Nearer, my God, to thee. You saved my life. You did. You saved my life. I never would have survived out there on my own. Oh no, not just anyone would have done the same thing. Someone else might have ignored me. Or shooed me away. Or even turned me in. Not you. You welcomed me with open arms. I really appreciate that. I hardly knew where to turn. I was beginning to panic. I thought my days were numbered. Then there you were. I felt some immediate connection. Didn’t you? I feel it now. I know you will try to give me a good home. And I’ll try to show my appreciation. (Hearing something, she begins to bark) Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!

Hey! Someone’s there! (Reacting) This is your wife, Kate? Hello, Kate. I’m just trying to make friends. You don’t like me, do you? You don’t like dogs. You’re prejudiced. I think you’re prejudiced against dogs. O.k., fine. No problem. I’ll just stay out of your hair. (Steps onto couch and settles) Off? Me? You speaking to me? I’m just relaxing. Can’t I even relax? Easy! Take it easy! ….Jesus! I’ve sat on couches before, you know. I’ve sat on plenty of couches. (Getting up, easing onto the chair) Can’t I at least sit on a chair? No!? (Slumping back onto the floor) Piss. What do you mean this is not going to work? The pound??? Hey, I’m sitting, aren’t I? I’m sitting on the floor. Look how quickly I sat. O.K. I get the picture. I’ll avoid the furniture. I’m not dumb. I don’t mind. I’ll sleep. I’ll chew things. All right, I won’t chew things. Just show me the rules and I’ll follow them, I swear. (She watches Kate go off) Dig her! She doesn’t like me. She makes me nervous. I sense the clock ticking away. It took her two years to say she’d marry you?!? Two years!? Jesus, Greg! If you multiply that by seven why that’s…um…carry the two…I make that fourteen years, dog time! That’s too long, Greg! Can’t I do something to speed things up? I’m tired of being just a houseguest around here. I want to feel totally at home. (She looks at the moon that Greg has pointed out to her) Yeah. Nice moon…..I suppose you’d like me to sit down and howl at it? Well, I don’t think I can do that, Greg. Sorry. I like to think I’ve grown beyond that kind of behavior. I think I’ll just take my nap.

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