life in and around NYC is insane

Friday, May 31, 2013

"Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike"

Back in college I was really into comparative literature, and the brooding Russian soul.  I read Tolstoy and Pasternak and Chekhov.  Chekhov -- "Uncle Vanya", "The Seagull", "The Three Sisters", "The Cherry Orchard".   Angst-ridden, depressed, brooding characters.  Rural estates.  Slice of life dialogue.

So last night Drew and I went to see a Broadway comedy, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" at the Golden Theater.  The play stars David Hyde Pierce (Vanya), Sigourney Weaver (Masha) , Kristine Nielsen (Sonia) and Billy Magnussen (Spike).  The premise is that Vanya, Sonia and Masha are siblings whose parents  loved Chekhov and named their children after Chekhov characters.  Vanya and Sonia live in the Bucks County, PA house that had been their parents' home, while Masha has moved to New York and become a famous movie actress.  She returns home with her "boy toy" lover, Spike, with the intent to sell the family home.

The characters and much of the plot is drawn from Chekhov's works, but you don't have to have a background in Russian lit to enjoy the play.  I especially liked Cassandra (Shalita Grant), the prophetess/voodoo practitioner.  Sonia's Maggie Smith imitation is dead on.  And Vanya's tirade/monologue in Act II brings the play to a standstill.  Anyone over 50 will be nodding in agreement as Vanya rambles on.

Now, I should mention that we didn't "buy" tickets for the show in the conventional sense.  Drew has a website he likes, goods and services are auctioned off for charity.  He will frequently bid on restaurant meals, Broadway shows and Mets tickets.    One of the reasons he bid on the "Vanya" tickets was the little something extra that came with them.  After the show, the stage manager took us on a brief tour backstage.  She allowed us to walk on the set and look at some of the costumes.  the details are amazing.  There's one spot, a stairway, where photos of our three main characters as children have been mounted on the wall.  The audience never really sees these photos -- actual photos contributed by the actors -- but they add to the atmosphere.  We got to meet Billy Magnussen, too, as he was showing the stage to two of his friends.  After the tour, we stayed by the stage door so that Drew could get photographs of and autographs from all the actors.

Usually when we go to the theater, we also go out to eat.  But last night's curtain was ay 7:00 instead of the usual 8:00, so no time to eat before the show,  and by the time we finished with the show and the tour, we were so tired we just grabbed a quick bite at McDonald's and headed to Penn Station...

...where we were surrounded by folks in Mets and Yankees jerseys.  Seems we had our annual subway series -- games at Citi Field Monday and Tuesday, games at Yankee Stadium Wednesday and Thursday.    The Mets had won both games at Cit Field and the first game at the stadium.  we tried to discern from the expressions on people's faces who won last night's game.  we correctly guessed that the Mets swept.

Overall a very satisfying night.

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

Friends from Maryland honeymooned in NYC last weekend and saw it. Raved about that, then saw Kinky Boots the next night. Loved both shows.

How bout them Mets? Bragging rights for this year!

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