Chekhov through a blender

Kapi-Mana News - - ARTS - LUCY SWINNEN

To get into char­ac­ter for a Chekho­vian-flavoured tale of mod­ern life, theatre ac­tress Rachel Henry read a lot of Rus­sian nov­els.

But you ‘‘don’t need to know Chekhov to en­joy the play’’, she said.

Vanya and So­nia and Masha and Spike had a run on Broad­way and picked up many ac­co­lades for its comedic flair at de­pict­ing the lives of sub­ur­ban adult sib­lings Vanya, Masha and So­nia.

For Henry it will be her first per­for­mance on stage for al­most five years, af­ter she took a break when she had a child.

‘‘It is a lovely feel­ing ac­tu­ally,’’ Henry said. ’’The Wellington theatre community is like a big fam­ily.’’

De­spite the less than op­ti­mistic Rus­sian world view that in­spires the play, Vanya and So­nia is over­all a lit­tle more light-hearted, Henry said.

‘‘We all find it hi­lar­i­ous, re­ally. One of my favourite things in the world is be­ing in a pro­duc­tion that makes peo­ple laugh and hav­ing a good time.

‘‘Hope­fully peo­ple think the same.’’

The play is set in Bucks County, Penn­syl­va­nia, where adult sib­lings Vanya and So­nia re­side in their old fam­ily home, mourn­ing their lost dreams and missed op­por­tu­ni­ties.

When their of­ten-wrong, for­tune-telling maid warns of im­pend­ing dan­gers, and their movie star sis­ter, Masha, ar­rives un­ex­pect­edly with young, sexy, boy toy, Spike, the fam­ily is launched into a rol­lick­ing week­end of one-up­man­ship, ex­posed nerves, and a lot of bro­ken mugs.

Su­san Wil­son will di­rect the lo­cal adap­ta­tion which she has been look­ing for­ward to since it opened in the US and she read the Christo­pher Du­rang script.

She de­scribes it as ‘‘Chekhov through a blender.’’

‘‘His play is a comic blender rather than a dra­matic blender.’’

The light hearted play takes on universal themes of fam­ily re­la­tion­ships, lost love, the yearn­ing for love and the lack of love, Wil­son said.

* Vanya and So­nia and Masha and Spike: Hys­ter­i­cal Chekhov char­ac­ter mash-up,

Circa Theatre, Au­gust 6 till Septem­ber 3, Tues­day till Wed­nes­day 6.30pm and Thurs­day till Satur­day 8pm, Sun­day 4pm, tick­ets from $25-$46, con­tact 04 801 7992 or circa.co.nz.

The char­ac­ter Spike from the play Vanya and So­nia and Masha and Spike.

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