On Friday evening, April 20, I saw Vanya and Sonia and Marsha and Spike by Christopher Durang at the Community Theatre League’s Moyer Studio. I have read this play so I already knew the story. Christopher Durang is a famous playwright who teaches playwriting at the Juilliard School. He is best know for his spoofs of classic plays like For Whom The Southern Belle Tolls, one of my favorites. Vanya and Sonia and Marsha and Spike is an imaginative and more elaborate spoof of the plays of Anton Chekhov. I have written my own spoof of a Chekhov play, Three Sisters, which I mashed up with Macbeth to produce Three Weird Sisters. It is only a 15 minute play but I think I was pretty clever in how I merged those two plays. I submitted it to a playwriting contest but it may seem too derivative.
Vanya and Sonia and Marsha and Spike is also interesting for being set in Pennsylvania, in Bucks County. The Bucks County Playhouse is located in Bucks County, obviously, and they did produce this play in 2014. The play is probably set there because Bucks County is a popular area for Broadway performers to retire to when they have become successful enough for a country estate. I think Moss Hart, playwright George S. Kaufman and lyricist Oscar Hammerstein lived in Bucks County, back when they were alive of course, and Dorothy Parker’s house is mentioned in the play as the location of the costume party. I have visited Doylestown and New Hope in Bucks County.
The stage design for this play was the most elaborate set I’ve seen at the Moyer Studio and the play also required more costumes. It starred Susan Guinter as Sonia, an actress I have seen many times over the years. She is probably the most active actress in Williamsport.
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