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Prairie Players: “Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike”
Friday, September 15, 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
This September, Prairie Players Civic Theatre will present Christopher Durang’s inventive and darkly funny play Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike in their theatre on Seminary Street.
This absurd family comedy quickly became a staple of American theatre after its Tony Award winning Broadway production in 2013, and has been in the top ten most produced plays in the United States every year since.
Aging movie-star Masha (Carol Buebe) returns to her childhood home, where her middle-aged siblings Vanya (John Siebken) and Sonia (Kim Wakefield-Bullis) still live. She brings in tow her hunky new boyfriend Spike (Zachary Hunter), who is half her age and can’t seem to keep his clothes on. The drama escalates with a battle over dwarves and a wicked queen, a pretty neighbor (Jenna Johnson) who competes for Spike’s attention, the housekeeper Cassandra (Vera Fornander) espousing prophecies of doom, and Masha threatening to sell the house and uproot her brother and sister.
Galesburg theatre mainstay Kenny Knox will direct the production, highlighting both the comedy of the play but also its depth of character. “It’s funny and touching at the same time,” Knox says. “Durang is a great playwright, and he’s great because he’s able to combine his humor with characters that have depth and hearts.”
Though Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is heavy on inside theatre jokes and Chekhov references, Durang has repeatedly emphasized in interviews that the play is universal, and audiences don’t need to have a theatre background to understand his humor. Durang also stressed, during an interview for the original production at the McCarter Theatre Center, that the play is not a parody of Chekhov, but that “it takes Chekhov themes and characters and mixes them all up, as if I’ve put them into a comic blender”.
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike may make us laugh at the misery of others, but beneath its surface is a wealth of questions about family, responsibility, and regret.
WHAT: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, presented by Prairie Players Civic Theatre
WHEN: September 8-17, Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm and Sunday at 2pm
WHERE: Prairie Players Civic Theatre, 160 South Seminary St, Galesburg, IL
TICKETS: $15 adults, $8 students. Tickets can be purchased online: www.prairieplayers.com.