Chekhov would chuckle over Globe’s new comedy

By Diana Saeng

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Christopher Durang’s “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” (Tony Award for Best Play 2013) has been called “the funniest new American play of the year.” It’s now on stage at The Old Globe Theatre, where cast member Candy Buckley (Masha) calls it “an illegal amount of fun!”

The story centers on an artsy family, whose the parents named their children after characters from Russian author Anton Chekhov’s works. The eldest, Masha, a Hollywood starlet in B-movies, has come home to help her siblings with decisions about their aging parents. Buckley said she was very excited to land the role.

“Great roles like this don’t just come along,” Buckley said. “For me, the role matters more than anything else, and this was a role I really wanted to play.

“Masha is grand but also a self-absorbed movie star. She has heart, and that’s the balance, as she’s also vain and there are so many outrageous things going on — like bringing her boy toy, Spike (Tyler Lansing Weaks), back home with her. He’s her alternative to getting older, having a hard time, and her self-pity.”

Buckley has many connections to this play. She acted with Martin Moran (playing Vanya) in “Cabaret.” She’s known Marcia DeBonis (playing Sonia), who is also a casting director, for some time. She’s also appeared in some of playwright Durang’s other works.

Jessica Stone, a frequent collaborator with Old Globe Associate Artist Nicholas Martin, directs. Buckley said she’s a long-time admirer of Stone’s work.

“I saw her in ‘Design For Living’ on Broadway with Alan Cummings; in ’Anything Goes,’ and directing ‘A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to the Forum,’ ” Buckley said. “She’s very funny, smart, and comes to us from both sides of the table because she’s an actor and director. Jessica lets us speak up and is not intimidated by what we have to say; she keeps her cool.

“This play deals with the end of the life spectrum (for the parents) as well as the younger generation on computers and cell phones and not relating to each other. At one point, Vanya goes off on a brilliant rant everyone will enjoy. I know the audience will laugh themselves silly at the nuttiness of this Chekhovian family.” u

If you go:

“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” plays matinees, evenings through June 22 at the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage, The Old Globe Theatre, 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park, San Diego. Tickets from $29 at (619) 234-5623. TheOldGlobe.org

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