University Theatre presents Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang, directed by Kristin Kundert. Performances will be held in the Cellar Theatre February 16-18, 21-25 at 8 p.m. and February 26 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $16, $12 for students, and can be purchased at drama.uga.edu/box-office, by phone at 706-542-4400, or in person at the Performing Arts Center or Tate Center box office.
Vanya (MFA acting candidate Larry Cox, Jr.) and his adopted sister Sonia (MFA acting candidate Katie Butcher) have spent their entire lives staring out the window of their family home while their sister Masha (MFA acting candidate Anna Pieri) roamed the world as a Hollywood star. The aging ingénue returns home for a surprise visit with her young and sexy lover Spike (finance and theatre major JD Hyers), a would-be actor who was once almost cast in a film. Tensions mount as the three siblings grapple with regrets over their pasts and fears over what their futures may hold. While proving that siblings are never too old to get on each other’s nerves, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike also shows that there’s no one like family to remind each other of what is most important.
“This play was a huge hit on off-Broadway and then Broadway just a few years ago; now it’s being performed by the top theatres throughout the country ,” said David Saltz, head of the department of theatre and film studies. “It’s no wonder. The play is sexy and smart, and it vividly captures the sort of quirky relationships that develop only within very close families.”
“It’s nice to be able to go into the theatre and laugh,” said Kundert, associate professor of theatre at UGA. “The play encourages us not only to laugh at the characters, but to recognize and laugh at ourselves.” Eccentric and uniquely spiritual Cassandra (theatre major Lauren King), self-centered and larger-than-life Masha, sexy and insensitive Spike, compassionate and artistic Nina (theatre major Rebeca Ispas) calm and quiet Vanya, heart-on-her-sleeve Sonia—“all are odd in their own ways, but all speak to quintessential human questions: Where do we fit? And what’s really important?”
Kundert emphasizes the play’s appeal across multiple generations: “It appeals to a younger generation because it’s very funny and there’s a lot of sex. It speaks to an older generation because we’re not famous and we haven’t done everything we wanted to do. Things are changing so fast, and there are dark things on the horizon. But there’s still solace and hope. And no matter what age, there’s always family to drive you crazy.”