Tennessee Women’s Theater Project continues its season – and its penchant for local premieres – with the Nashville opening of Christopher Durang’s comedy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, winner of the 2013 Tony® Award for Best Play. The production starts a three-week run at Nashville’s Looby Theater Friday (Feb. 28) that ends March 16.
In Durang’s hit comedy, middle-aged Vanya and his sister Sonia live a quiet life in the Pennsylvania farmhouse of their childhood, where they bicker and complain about their circumstances. Their domestic inertia is disrupted by the arrival of their movie-star sister Masha, who sweeps in unannounced with her twenty-something boy-toy Spike. Also on the scene are a mouthy, prophesying housekeeper named Cassandra, and youthful Nina, an aspiring actress whose looks attract Spike and unsettle the imperious Masha.
The character names and the farmhouse setting will resonate for fans of Anton Chekhov, says TWTP Founder and Artistic Director Maryanna Clarke, but you won’t need to be familiar with Russian drama to enjoy the show.
“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is unapologetically funny, with references to theater, of course, and plenty of digs at pop culture, youth versus age, and the pace of contemporary life,” says Clarke. “I read an interview with Christopher Durang, the playwright, who says the play is not a parody of Chekhov – it’s more like he throws Chekhov in a blender.”
Vanya is played by Lane Wright, who last appeared with the company in The Disappearance of Janey Jones (2012). Terry Occhiogrosso, playing Sonia, previously appeared with TWTP in Collected Stories (2006), Nickel and Dimed (2007) and Impressionism (2011). Holly Butler, who debuted in 2012’s Janey Jones, rounds out the sibling trio as Masha. Spike is played by James Rudolph, last seen with TWTP in Impressionism. Tamiko Robinson plays the off-kilter Cassandra, having previously appeared in Nickel and Dimed, Impressionism and TWTP’s touring production of Warriors Don’t Cry (2011). Corinne Bupp, seen recently in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf at Franklin’s Boiler Room Theatre, makes her TWTP debut in the role of Nina.
The Z. Alexander Looby Theater is located at 2301 Rosa L. Parks Blvd.
7:30 pm on Feb. 28, March 1, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14 & 15
2:30 pm on March 2, 9 & 16
Adults $15, Students & Seniors (60+) $12 All seats $10 on Thursday evenings; the first Thursday show designated as Pay What You Make and Hour Night
Group: Adults $12 each, Students & Seniors $10 each; Available for groups of 10 or more, in any combination of ticket categories (for group sales call (615) 681-7220
More information at Tennessee Women’s Theater Project: www.twtp.org
*Photo of (clockwise from left) Holly Butler as Masha, Terry Occhiogrosso as Sonia, James Rudolph as Spike and Lane Wright as Vanya by Maryanna Clarke courtesy TWTP.