Chekhov in the New World…
You don’t have to know Chekhov to enjoy the play. It is not a parody. The play takes
Chekhov characters and themes and puts them into a blender. C. Durang
With constant allusions to Chekov, the playwright manages to create a unique story
that takes place in a small county in modern day U.S. Vanya and his adopted sister
Sonia spend their days, unemployed, in a house owned and taken care of by their
sister Masha, a movie star. Masha comes back home for a visit, accompanied by her
new young lover Spike. Things come to a boil with the inclusion of the soothsayer
cleaning woman Cassandra, and the girl next door Nina. It is as if the characters'
Chekovian names dictate their destinies. The despair of countryside life, the loneliness
of the modern man become the main themes in a play where witty comedy meets
Chekhov in the New World…
You don’t have to know Chekhov to enjoy the play. It is not a parody. It is set in thepresent day.
The play takes Chekhov characters and themes and puts them into ablender.
Christopher Durang In their 15th year, with a continuously growing repertoire, Tiyatro Pera will for thefirst time stage a contemporary American play.
This will also mark the first Turkishperformance of a piece by playwright Christopher Durang, co-director of thePlaywrights Program at Juilliard, also recipient of awards including Tony, Obie andPen.
“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” was awarded a Tony for “Best Play” in2013.
With constant allusions to Chekov, Durang creates a unique story that takes place inmodern day rural U.S.
The audience find themselves in Bucks County, Pennsylvania,a small town, with life as still as a pond, and with a pond inhabited by frogs,
cherrytrees and clumsy wild turkeys. Vanya and his adopted sister Sonia idly spend theirdays here, unemployed, without much other to do than to watch the birds, complain toeach other, and share their loneliness.
For many years they had taken care of theirbedridden parents. They live in a house owned and taken care of by their sister Masha,a rich and famous movie star.
a Accompanied by her new young lover Spike, Mashacomes back home to attend a costume party in town.
Things come to a boil with theinclusion of the soothsayer cleaning woman Cassandra, and the girl next door Nina.The house (which the audience will pass through a pond bridge to get to)
becomes theset to the comical yet bitter events that follow.Problems of isolation and despair posed by modern life echo through the characters;
Vanya and Sonia in rural gloom, heartbroken by the lives they never had, Mashaliving the ‘behind the scenes’ syndrome of a movie star, yet all of them completelyinept at looking for a way out,
trapped in inertia, much like the original Chekhovcharacters. Chekhov once noted that he “actually wrote comedies”.
Durang’s playweaves a witty comedy through the gloom as a response to Chekhov.Lost chances in life, although comical, lead to permanent regret.For the first time,
Tiyatro Pera is working with a guest director. Renowned directorYücel Erten comments on the play:“This is no collage work, or a parody that tries to ‘hitchhike’ on Chekhov.
Neither is itan archeological dig, a restoration effort. Instead we have here an inventive play,which befriends Chekhov, pays him a visit, and the two friends take a stroll arm inarm,
followed by tea by the pond. Appreciative, sensitive, clever, nuanced.”Translated by: Emil Tan Erten