“It’s a ‘What if?’ play,” said playwright Christopher Durang at yesterday’s meet-and-greet for his comedy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, which is moving to Broadway.
“I thought, ‘What if I had lived all my life [in a country home] with my sister and we were just miserable?”
As a result, the play gives us Vanya (David Hyde Pierce) and Sonia (Kristin Nielsen), two Chekhovian types who share a Bucks County house in utter droning misery.
Sigourney Weaver plays a vain actress who stampedes into their dour existence–a long way from Avatar.
At the event, Weaver said “It’s all about our yearning, which hasn’t changed since Chekhov. Yearning to be, to have. All these things they feel denied.
“My character comes in wanting people to think she has everything, and after a few rough moments before the end of the play, she realizes she does have everything.”
She even has a hunky younger lover played by Billy Magnussen, who at the panel discussion admitted that he was nervous and isn’t terribly articulate, as Sigourney rubbed his shoulders to relax him. Meanwhile, the ingenue, Genevieve Angelson, gushed about working with her “favorite playwright” and “favorite director” and added that after the anxiety of pilot season, this project is a welcome relief. (Pilot season, explained costar Kristine Nielsen, “to me, is turning on an oven.”)
And David Hyde Pierce was asked what makes Durang’s plays unique. “Almost all of them are written by Chris,” he replied, dryly.