On Thursday, May 26th, “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” opened at the Quogue Community Hall. The fourth and final play of the Hampton Theatre Company (HTC) 2015-2016 season, the production will run through Sunday, June 12th.
The play revolves around Vanya and his adopted sister, Sonia. They share a humorously simple life in their childhood home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The house is owned by their movie star sister, Masha, who comes to visit with her new boy-toy, Spike. In addition to the main characters, two other characters Cassandra, their housekeeper, and a next-door neighbor, Nina, add a little extra spice to the eccentric group.
The plays of Anton Chekhov are major reference points for the comedy, but Durang also cites two underlying fairy tales, for purposes of a costume party. This storyline subverts the “Snow White” narrative, while also putting a new face on the “Cinderella” story, and toys with the identities of the main characters in the play.
“The play is not based on Chekhov, nor is it a parody of Chekhov,” explained Playwright Christopher Durang. “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.”
The cast of “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” includes four Hampton Theatre Company veterans and two newcomers. Longtime company member Andrew Botsford, who was last seen as David Bliss in the 2015 production of “Hay Fever,” will play the role of Vanya. Another original member of the Company and “Hay Fever” cast member, Rosemary Cline, is featured as Masha. Jan Lowe will play the role of Sonia, and this will mark her first time returning to the stage in Quogue since her starring role in “Painting Churches” in 2005. And, Amanda Griesmann, who was last seen in the Hampton Theatre Company’s “An Inspector Calls,” will be featured as Nina. Eduardo Ramos and Smeralda Abel will make their Hampton Theatre Company debut; Ramos in the role of Spike, and Abel as Cassandra.
The production is directed by Artistic Director Diana Marbury, and will showcase set design by Sean Marbury, lighting and design by Sebastian Paczynski and costumes and design by Teresa Lebrun.
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 many others.
Ben Brantley assures viewers in his New York Times review that “even if you’ve never read a word of Chekhov, you’re likely to find plenty to make you laugh.”
“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” can been seen at the Quogue Community Hall from Thursday, May 26th through Sunday, June 12th, with shows on Thursdays and Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.
Once again, the Hampton Theatre Company will 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 HTC’s website.
Quogue Community Hall is located at 125 Jessup Avenue in Quogue. To reserve tickets, visit hamptontheatre.org, or call OvationTix at 1-866-811-4111.