Trinity Rep to Present VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE, 11/21-12/22
Fresh on the heels of their sold out run of season opener The Grapes of Wrath, Trinity Rep continues their 50th anniversary season with the New England premiere of Christopher Durang's smash-hit comedy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Directed by The Richard L. Bready Artistic Director Curt Columbus, the show beings in previews November 21st in the intimate Dowling Theater and runs through December 22nd. Taking takes his cue from some of Anton Chekhov's most recognizable characters, Durang wickedly adds more than a dash of pop culture, a huge helping of dark humor and then lets the characters stew in a pressure cooker of their own devising. The result is a whirlwind weekend of classic Durang barbs, over the top tirades and ridiculously hysterical situations hailed as "Terrifically kooky!" by Entertainment Weekly. For those that are not familiar with Uncle Vanya or Cherry Orchard, Critics agree that "Even if you've never read a word of Chekhov, you're likely to find plenty to make you laugh..." (The New York Times.) Tickets on sale now through the box office at 201 Washington, by phone at (401) 351-4242 and online at www.trinityrep.com.
Siblings Vanya and Sonia (Brian McEleney and Janice Duclos) have never left the comfortable confines of their sprawling childhood home in Bucks County, PA. Eldest sister Masha (Phyllis Kay) has gone off to become a wildly successful movie star and keeps the bills paid from her posh Hollywood home. Their routinely banal existence is whipped into a sudden frenzy with the dramatic arrival of superstar Masha, who arrives with much younger "boy toy" Spike (Mark Larson) in tow. Masha's re-entry into their otherwise bucolic existence brings with it the resurgence of sibling rivalry, buried emotions and the looming possibility of the sudden end to their idyllic lifestyle.
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike first premiered at the McCarter Theatre and subsequently at Lincoln Center Theatre before its 2013 transfer to Broadway. The crowd-pleasing comedy captured many of that year's notable awards for Best Play, including a Tony Award, a Drama Critics' Circle Award, as well as Drama League and Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Play.
Director Curt Columbus explains selecting the comedy to be part of Trinity Rep's 50th Season due in part to its unparalleled theatrical lineage. "This new play is a marriage of two playwrights that Trinity Rep audiences have had a love affair with for many years - Christopher Durang and Anton Chekhov - both geniuses of presenting humor amid pathos."
Trinity Rep's inaugural seasons at the Trinity Square Church included both Uncle Vanya and Three Sisters, and Adrian Hall and Columbus have each directed Chekhov's hallMark Cherry Orchard for Trinity Rep audiences. The list of Durang plays seen onstage at Trinity Rep throughout the 1980s is equally impressive, including Beyond Therapy, Marriage of Better and Boo, Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You and The Actor's Nightmare.
Columbus points out that while the two writers may seem incompatible, they actually both seek to engage their audiences through comedy. "Like Chekhov, Durang is a writer who is intensely interested in the current moment, a writer who doesn't set out to write a political play, but one who can't help examining the world around him. Working within the frame of the familiar family play, he subtly directs our attention to the larger issues in our culture, all by showing us ordinary detail of everyday life."
A stellar design team has been assembled to create the faded Bucks County "estate" that the characters call home. Production design includes the team of scenic designer Michael McGarty, lighting designer Josh Epstein, costume designer Olivera Gajic and sound designer Peter Sasha Hurowitz.