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Don’t miss Waterworks’ Vanya

Calling all theater lovers! You do not want to miss the Waterworks Players’ production of Christopher Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.

If the play is new to you, the catchy title provides just a hint of the originality and fun that await discovery. This production is community theater at its best, showcasing the talent, energy and creativity we’ve come to expect of the Waterworks Players. Once again, they have delivered a wonderful evening of entertainment.

The play, which premiered in Sept. 2012 at Princeton, N.J.’s McCarter Theatre, won both the Tony Award for Best Play and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play. Critics have praised the unique way the author blends a modern story with creative references to Chekhov as well as elements of classical Greek theater. 

This is a story about the complex, delicate nature of relationships and the power they have to make or break us. Durang has created six distinct characters; each is a significant part of the play’s overall structure, fulfilling important parts of the work.

The play begins with two middle-aged siblings awaiting the arrival of a third. Adult children of professor parents who loved Chekhov and community theater, Sonia and Vanya still live in the family home, where they cared for their aging parents who have since passed away. The audience learns how they depend financially on their sister, Masha, a famous actress. There is a fascinating mixture of resentment and love.

When Masha comes home with her new and very young boyfriend, Spike, she tells her brother and sister she’s going to sell the house. The cleaning woman, Cassandra, and the young, beautiful Nina, from next door, are pulled into the action. From that moment, the plot spins in unexpected directions, providing great entertainment.

Director Dudley Sauve has put together a strong cast. Martha Womack and Ed Kinman deliver strong, sensitive portrayals as Sonia and Vanya, with the delightful Daphne Mason as their charming, but overbearing older sister, Masha. The audience can’t help but be entertained by the energy and fun Greg Tsigaridas brings to the role of Spike, and kudos to Miriam Loya (Cassandra) and Caitlin Mazura (Nina) for the spark of life they bring to the stage.

Both the costumes and set are visually pleasing and it is clear the Waterworks Players worked tirelessly on this production and with great attention to detail.

Show times are Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m. and again Oct. 21 and 22. Tickets are $12 and may be purchased online at www.waterworksplayers.org.

(Learn more about two of the actresses in this play by clicking here.)

Julia Palmer is a linguist and associate professor of Spanish at Hampden-Sydney College. Her email address is jpalmer@hsc.edu.