The off Broadway play Dig, now playing at 59e59 Theaters opens in a flower shop in the Midwest with two men talking. Roger, (Jeffrey Bean), the plant shop’s owner and his dear friend, Lou, (Triney Sandoval), his sometime accountant, banter away about the plant that Lou has destroyed and has asked Roger to revive.
Instantly one gets a sense of their connection to one another and how they interact with the world. Meanwhile, Lou’s adult daughter, Megan, (Andrea Syglowski), leans against the shop’s front window without participating in the conversation.
She doesn’t say a word, but her presence speaks volumes.
As engaging as the conversation is, equally captivating is Megan. There is a ferocity about her and her silence and it is palpable. It seems that at any moment she could become unhinged.
This is the work of Andrea Syglowski. High-in-demand, Syglowski has worked with some of the world’s finest contemporary playwrights including Martyna Majok, Amy Herzog, Sarah Ruhl, Stephen Adly Guirgis and Theresa Rebeck who wrote and directed Dig.
Working with Rebeck on two of her other plays, (The Understudy and The Nest), Syglowski originated the role of Megan at the Dorset Theater Festival in 2019. Without giving too much away, Megan has just returned home from rehab to live with her father.
The action takes place in Roger’s beloved plant shop as Roger feels more comfortable and safe with plants than he does with people. Megan has consistently been told that she’s a major mess. Yet she burrows herself into Roger’s shop.
After a profoundly tragic event in her life, Megan is finding a way to survive. The ensemble of characters, which also includes actors Mary Bacon, Greg Keller and David Mason, orbit around each other in devastating and redemptive ways. “Above all the play is about forgiveness,” says Syglowski. “How do we forgive ourselves for the “crimes” that we feel we’ve committed to ourselves and others?”
Extended until November 5, Dig is presented by Primary Stages (59E59’s Off-Broadway company-in-residence) in association with Jamie deRoy. As impactful as the play is for the audience, it continues to deeply resonate with Syglowski, even after so many years. “I keep thinking about the play. I’m doing it ever day and always go home with some new spark of understanding or a different way of looking at something,” she says.
A graduate of the University Of Southern California where she won the Jack Nicholson Award for excellence in acting, Syglowski got her masters at the Juilliard School and was the recipient of the Robin Williams Scholarship.
Syglowski ended up at Julliard because of the late head of the drama division, Jim Houghton. “He really brought me into that school and was so inspirational with how he thought about theater and how impassioned he was,” says Syglowski of Houghton who was also founding artistic director of Signature Theatre. “I’ve had great teachers who have believed in me along the way.”
Growing up just outside Philadelphia, Syglowski went to a small public high school. A passionate and caring drama teacher, Robert Henry, saw something in her and cast Syglowski in several plays including Antigone, the Heiress and Reckless. “I remember being in Reckless and getting lost inside that story,” says Syglowski. “It felt so alive to affect people around me.”
That feeling remains, especially doing Dig at 59e59 Theaters and getting to explore and mine all Megan’s layers. “It would be so easy to look at the circumstances of Megan’s life—she’s been in jail and rehab—you could think of her as a victim. But she’s so strong,” says Syglowski. “The thing I love about Megan is if you really break it down and you to the bottom layer, the reason for all of these things that have transpired in her life is because her heart is so big. Her ability to love is huge.”