Terrace Little Theatre’s fall play opens up the season with an invitation to sit in on a dysfunctional and hilarious family reunion.
Written by American playwright Christopher Durang, ‘Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike’ takes a look at the relationships between three middle-aged siblings when decades of angst and frustration suddenly come to a chaotic head.
Masha, a world-renowned movie-star, comes back for a surprise visit to see her brother Vanya and adopted sister Sonia, two lost souls who have spent most of their lives caring for their now-dead parents inside their childhood home.
Described as “putting Chekhov in a blender and tossing it out,” director Robin MacLeod says Durang’s script is an entertaining take on the absurd and comedic nature of struggling family dynamics.
“I think it’s really well written, there is some darker stuff that comes but I think the playwright then, after a sombre, heavy thought, gives us a laugh,” MacLeod says. “I was laughing out loud when I was reading it the first time.”
Marta Nelson makes her debut as the Masha, the family’s movie-star sister whose surprise visit throws a wrench into the hapless household’s day-to-day.
“I enjoy that she is very over the top, and she’s very used to having her own way and very demanding. By the end of the play you get to see the person underneath some of the Hollywood grandstanding that she’s been doing over the last couple years,” Nelson says.
Jim Branch is back from a hiatus from the stage to play Vanya, a gay man who constantly tries to keep the peace in the house. Cindy Rice plays Sonia, the overlooked sister who is constantly battling Masha for attention.
Brandon Kirkwood steps in to play Masha’s much younger lover, Spike, who takes every opportunity to remind everyone around him how good looking he is.
“He’s a bit mischievous, very sexual being,” Kirkwood says. “I don’t want to give too much away…but there is a costume change on stage, I’ll say that much.”
Sally Sousa plays Cassandra, the eccentric housekeeper and soothsayer who makes some dire predictions during the play’s opening act. Kristin Redpath plays Nina, the beautiful and idealistic next door neighbour who flames Masha’s deepest insecurities.
Macleod says there is some swearing and more adult humour in this production, so it may be best to leave the kids at home for this one.
‘Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike’ runs through to Dec. 1, with the next show at 8 p.m. tonight, Nov. 23 at the McColl Playhouse (3625 Kalum Street). Tickets are $20 at Uniglobe. For more information about this year’s fall production, visit mytlt.ca.