Photo Flash: Hampton Theatre's VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE In Rehearsals
"Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," the Drama Desk and Tony Award-winning comedy by Christopher Durang that NY Times critic Ben Brantley called "a loving rejection of pretty much everything," will be the fourth and final play of the Hampton Theatre Company's 2015-2016 season, opening on May 26, at the Quogue Community Hall and running through June 12. Check out photos of the cast in rehearsals below!
An audience talkback with members of the cast and the director will follow the performance on June 2.
As the play's title suggests, the plot revolves around Vanya and his adopted sister Sonia, who share a humorously hollow existence in the house in Bucks County, PA, where they grew up. The house is now owned by their movie star sister, Masha, who comes to visit with her new, much younger boy-toy, Spike. Adding spice to this setup are two other characters: Cassandra, who is part housekeeper and part soothsayer, and a next-door neighbor, Nina, a pure-of-heart ingénue and aspiring actress.
In spite of the three siblings' familiar names, the plays of Anton Chekhov are not the only reference point for comedy. Two fairy tales are also in play for a costume party that subverts the story of Snow White while putting a new face on Cinderella and tinkering with the identities of the central characters.
In an essay for the Lincoln Center Theater Review, playwright Christopher Durang wrote: "The play is not based on Chekhov, nor is it a parody of Chekhov. Chekhov is more of a personal jumping-off point for me. It's as if I took characters and themes from Chekhov and put them in a blender ... I also wrote it so you don't have to know Chekhov to enjoy it."
Calling the Broadway production "riotous," a review in The New York Post proclaimed "the show's a ton of fun even if you can't tell your 'Seagull' from your 'Uncle Vanya.'" And Ben Brantley noted in his NY Times review that "even if you've never read a word of Chekhov, you're likely to find plenty to make you laugh."
The cast of "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" features four Hampton Theatre Company veterans and two newcomers. Playing Vanya is longtime HTC company member Andrew Botsford, last seen as David Bliss in the 2015 production of "Hay Fever." Rosemary Cline, another original member of the company, who played Judith Bliss in "Hay Fever," has the role of Masha.
Returning to the stage in Quogue for the first time since her starring role in "Painting Churches" in 2005, Jane Lowe plays Sonia. Amanda Griemsmann, last seen in HTC's fall production of "An Inspector Calls," has the role of Nina.
Making their HTC debuts in this production are Eduardo Ramos in the role of Spike, and Smeralda Abel, playing Cassandra.
Playwright and actor Christopher Durang, who lives in Bucks County, PA, with his partner John Augustine, is also the author of "Beyond Therapy," "Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You," "The Marriage of Bette and Boo," "Baby with the Bathwater," "Laughing Wild," "A History of the American Film," "Betty's Summer Vacation," and "Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge," among others.
HTC Artistic Director Diana Marbury directs. Set design is by Sean Marbury; lighting design by Sebastian Paczynski; and costumes by Teresa LeBrun.
"Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" runs at the Quogue Community Hall from May 26 through June 12, with shows on Thursdays and Fridays at 7, Saturdays at 8 and Sundays at 2:30.
The Hampton Theatre Company will again be offering special dinner and theater packages in collaboration with the Southampton, Westhampton Beach, Hampton Bays, and Quogue libraries. Information about the dinner and theater packages is available on the company website, www.hamptontheatre.org, or through the libraries.
To reserve tickets, visit www.hamptontheatre.org, or call OvationTix at 1-866-811-4111.
Photo Credit: Tom Kochie
Jane Lowe and Rosemary Cline