File Name: vanya and sonia and masha and spike .zip
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Enter their sister, self-absorbed movie star Masha, with her prized something boy toy Spike, and the stage is set for an absurd weekend of general hilarity and global warming. As Sonia, the spinster left behind to care for dying parents at the rural homestead, Lockwood shares every momentary grievance, lifelong resentment and gloomy expectation with sidesplitting earnestness.
Global warming, short attention spans and the tyranny of pop culture all come under fire as these quirky characters ponder what the future holds, not just for themselves, but for a civilization uncertain how to reinvent itself in the face of cataclysmic change. Directed by Richard E. But the director keeps the laughs coming throughout. We loved Uncle Pasquale. He was robust as a young man with a huge, infectious laugh. But as he got older, he got weird.
His paranoia became the stuff of family legend. During the last 20 years of his life he probably left his house twice. Both times undercover. For years no one saw him. Christopher Durang understands this kind of uncontrollable laughter. However crazy they might be, however extreme their behavior, they are simply acting on their own truth. Durang resists being overly mean towards them. He seeks to reveal their logic rather than simply mock their ridiculousness; and ultimately, he empathizes with the sufferers.
For all the wicked satire in his plays, all the darkness that lies underneath the surface of his dramatic situations, he chooses to forgive his characters through laughter. Both the laughter and the forgiveness are on full display in his latest gem: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.
Loosely inspired by the work of Chekhov, this play takes on the modern world with comic relish mingled with a kind of brokenhearted sympathy. The result is something entirely recognizable and original. Richard E. For many years, Richard was a stalwart member of this community for real, not like my Uncle Pasquale , before he took his talents to Chicago and then Seattle. He reunites with many of his oldest collaborators on this project, as well as some great folks who are new to our Theatre.
For many, autumn signals the waning of the year, with the sun setting earlier, children returning to school, and that inevitable hunkering down in anticipation of winter. During this time, squirrels hoard food, and bears store fat.
Autumn is when one buckles down to business after the respite of the summer. And yet, for me, autumn has always meant something completely different. It has always signaled the beginning! Tickets have been sold and budgets approved. Now, we are finally able to close the books on everything that came before and turn our full attention to a new season of performances.
The first day of rehearsals for the first production of the season has its own traditions. We assemble the entire staff, many members of our board, and our most deeply committed supporters and volunteers for one grand beginning. When I look at this heady mix of people I am always reminded that what we do here at Berkeley Rep is the result of a somewhat unwieldy, ongoing exercise in collaboration in the service of a larger calling.
Our goal, always, is to produce theatre that challenges, enriches, stretches, entertains, and sometimes even confounds our artists and our audience members. Our route to that end varies constantly. Sometimes that means reclaiming a mighty classic; sometimes that means uncovering an emerging creative voice.
The first rehearsal for Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike was particularly sweet. Welcoming Richard E. This production is a special opportunity to bring together our veterans as well as some really wonderful actors who will be new to you.
That first day in the rehearsal hall with old colleagues and new ones, with staff members who have been with us for 25 years and the new group of fresh-faced Berkeley Rep fellows, was a reminder that we are a company—a family—with a past, a present, and a future. Some of you have been with us since our founding in Welcome to our family. White is a surprising man. In his celebrated and substantial career as a director and educator, he has done many things you would not expect the same person to do.
Over all of his passion is a warmth, sparkle, and generosity of spirit that is evident in every interaction. Julie McCormick: What did your process of preparing for this particular play entail? White: This play is kind of a mash-up. One thing I look for is that familial connection. I can embrace Chekhov and I can embrace Ingmar Bergman and even Walt Disney with great ardor and complete identification.
Oh no, not at all. What are the dreams you have that are unfulfilled? Are there still possibilities left in you? Do you feel like the doors of your life are closing, and what can open them? How do we stay attuned to the possibility of miracles in our lives?
And the same thing is true of Shakespeare and, frankly, of Chekhov. I think the same thing is true of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. When did teaching become a part of your trajectory? Very early on, actually. The first paid job I had in theatre when I was 20 years old was with an organization called Neighborhood Youth Corps, where I got a summer job through my acting teacher teaching theatre to high school kids.
That was back in We were going to do it as an anti-war protest, as this was the height of the Vietnam War. So I really started teaching and directing well before I was ready to do it, and the first job I got after I graduated college was a teaching job.
I then spent three years as a teacher with the Drama Studio when it was in Berkeley; I taught through the Berkeley Shakespeare Festival now known as Cal Shakes when I was there; and a year after I was kindly shown the door by the PhD program at the University of California, they hired me back to teach.
I never thought that at a given point I would become a teacher. So much of my life—and I think this is one of the reasons I like the play too—has been a series of miracles and happy accidents and opportunities that arrive out of the blue. My wife and I embarked on this magnificent adventure in when we answered an ad in Artsearch magazine on kind of a whim to go teach in Japan, and to our surprise we were selected and hired.
So we went off to teach in Japan for three years. We taught English at a technical college in Yokohama, and we also taught theatre classes and directed plays at a Japanese language theatre company in Tokyo.
It was an enormous spiritual, anthropological, and creative venture for us. That was fascinating and really rewarding, and we could feel how we were helping to make a difference in the lives and worldviews of our students in Japan. Your roots go very deep in the Bay Area, and this is a return to Berkeley Rep after a fair hiatus. I established myself as a director in the Bay Area in and had the great fortune to have some success at smaller theatres like the Eureka, and then moved to what was then the Berkeley Shakespeare Festival.
Michael Leibert had invited me several times to direct at Berkeley Rep but it had never worked out with my schedule. Then when Joy Carlin took over she offered me the chance to direct a couple of plays in , and that was the time when Sharon Ott came in. Sharon not only confirmed that I would still be directing there, bless her heart, but offered me a staff position.
So for two years I was the resident director at Berkeley Rep, and directed I think five plays in the first couple of years that I worked there. It was a great opportunity for me because at the time, Berkeley Rep was kind of a step up in terms of resources and imagination and pushback from artists who were really mature and strong and experienced. And then interestingly, when I moved to Chicago, one of my first friends that I made was Susie Medak, who at the time was the managing director at Northlight Theatre.
It was then really serendipitous that Susie came to Berkeley Rep. I was also in grad school with Tony Taccone for three years. Tony came with me to the Eureka, and after I left as the artistic director at the Eureka, Tony took over that position. Coming back to Berkeley Rep is like coming back to be with family in a lot of ways. And I imagine at least some of this will come through in how the audience interacts with the set.
Part of our job is to extend that sense of place all the way out into the seats. I have a kind of deep trust in them as collaborators and a type of environment that will draw us into the story and the characters of the play. And that just strikes me as a very unusual direction. How did that happen? Well, the thread that ties them together is Brecht. Even the kind of new plays that I got my start doing are animated by epic storytelling. The theatre company that really made me want to be an artist in the theatre and really showed me the way to be an artist in the theatre was the San Francisco Mime Troupe.
Seeing them when I was a young student in college was a revelation to me: that theatre could actually have a meaning greater than the simple public event of enjoying a show. That you could see a piece of theatre and you could walk away and it could resound and resonate in your mind for years. I made my mark in Bay Area theatre as an artist primarily by introducing a lot of writers through the Eureka who were kind of the British heirs and descendants of Brecht. So then moving into Shakespeare was relatively seamless in a way, because Shakespeare was the founder of epic storytelling.
That was really memorable. And of course part of that is language and part of that again is the epic sweep of storytelling, showing all levels of class, of weaving plots and subplots together…The wonderful challenge to you as a director is to orchestrate this large vision of a world onstage that Shakespeare presents you with. And the other writer who was kind of instrumental in my growing aesthetic as a director was Sam Shepard.
So you learn a lot by directing classical work, and I think the most important thing that you have to learn as a director—that you get to learn as a director working on Shakespeare—is how much information is actually parked in the dramatic text. Where do you hope for it to be is maybe another way to put that.
The story revolves around the relationships of three middle-aged single siblings, two of whom live together, and takes place during a visit by the third, Masha, who supports them. They discuss their lives and loves, argue, and Masha threatens to sell the house. It transferred to Broadway in After spending their adulthood looking after their now-dead parents, neither has a job, and money is provided by their movie star sister Masha, who owns the house and pays the bills. Vanya who is gay and Sonia who is forever reminding everyone that she was adopted spend their days reflecting on their lost chances, debating whether the grove of nine cherry trees on their property constitutes an orchard, and bemoaning their rather Chekhovian lot in life. The only other resident of the house is their cleaning woman Cassandra, who, like her namesake, is prone to making dire prophecies that no one believes. This static environment is disrupted when Masha returns home, bringing with her a flurry of drama, an endless litany of insecurity, and a much younger, gorgeous, dimwitted lover named Spike.
VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE by Christopher Durang (/Golden). Return to: Casting Department Center Theatre Group.
Enter their sister, self-absorbed movie star Masha, with her prized something boy toy Spike, and the stage is set for an absurd weekend of general hilarity and global warming. As Sonia, the spinster left behind to care for dying parents at the rural homestead, Lockwood shares every momentary grievance, lifelong resentment and gloomy expectation with sidesplitting earnestness. Global warming, short attention spans and the tyranny of pop culture all come under fire as these quirky characters ponder what the future holds, not just for themselves, but for a civilization uncertain how to reinvent itself in the face of cataclysmic change.
Resigned to his life, more or less, at least compared to Sonia.
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VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE was com- missioned by McCarter Theatre Center (Emily Mann, Artistic Direc- tor; Timothy J. Shields, Managing.