Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, written by Christopher Durang, portrays middle-aged siblings whose lives are seemingly going nowhere. The setting is the old family home where a brother (Vanya) and sister (Sonia) live together after caring for their now deceased parents.
Their lives are pleasant, if not a bit lonely. Into this calm, the third sibling blows in – their movie-star sister, Masha, with her boyfriend Spike, who is easily twenty years her junior. Masha has been the financial backer of the house and is now ready to sell. Sibling dysfunction erupts. The actors attempt to break up the dyspeptic atmosphere that settles within the house by launching some well-timed jokes.
Three characters in the play add most of the levity. Spike, the frequently undressing young boyfriend, Cassandra, the soothsayer cleaning lady, and Nina, a young fan of Masha, who also offers a wide-eyed enthusiasm that adds new energy to the narrative.
The play perks up in the second act. The characters are off to a costume party and Vanya and Sonia become more animated. Cassandra and Spike continue their antics as do Nina and Masha.
Some aspects of the play are taken from the work of Russian playwrite and author, Anton Chekhov. If you are familiar with Chekhov you may enjoy seeing the nods to his works; however, you certainly don’t need to know Chekhov’s work to enjoy the play.
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is playing at the Coronado Playhouse November 13-December 20, 2015. Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm.