An array of timeless yet contemporary humor and experiences are coming to the LTV Studios stage at the end of this month. Values of family, loss, difference and hard decisions are pieced together in a comedic, Anton Chekhov-influenced rendition of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike written by Christopher Durang.
The show will hit the stage Thursday, May 26 to Sunday, May 29 with shows at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Allen O’Reilly, creator of Intrepid Theatricals through which the show will be put on, is directing this performance. After pushing it back from the first week of January until this month, the community of theater actors and one professional have come together to put on this “pathos filled story,” O’Reilly says. Nighttime rehearsals, tight schedules, COVID cases and cast members all the way from Chicago couldn’t stop this show from going on.
“It’s been a little crazy, so I think we have earned the title ‘Intrepid.’ Quite a journey,” O’Reilly says.
Audience members can expect a relatable story of sibling interactions. Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike tells the story of three siblings, Vanya, Sonia and Masha, dealing with the passing of their parents. Set in a Pennsylvania country house, Vanya and Sonia receive a visit from their sister Masha and her significantly younger lover, Spike. The competitive nature between Masha and Sonia comes to a head, prompting Vanya’s interjections all while a complicated world continues around them. Following news that Masha wants to sell the house that her two siblings have been living in, emotions arise, chaos erupts, but all ends on an anticlimactic note.
“Not a whole lot happens, but it’s like life,” O’Reilly says. “It’s just the way life has dealt them the cards that life has dealt them.”
Through the show, there are instances of comedy, but not your typical type. Durang wrote the jokes into the script with Chekhov’s style in mind, with less obvious delivery. One thing that O’Reilly has emphasized throughout rehearsals is to let the humor speak for itself.
“I wanted to make sure that we didn’t make it a farce, because I have seen some productions online in my research that made it sort of sticky and over-the-top funny and trying to make it funny, when the humor is in the language,” O’Reilly
Themes come up in scenes where Masha and Sonia hash out all of the trials, tribulations and disappointments in their respective lives, applicable to the hardships of the crowd according to the director. Audience members will also see communications between generations that hold true in reality, as well as monologues from each character that will speak to everyone’s range of life experience.
O’Reilly’s time in the field as a professional actor, an associate artist, writer, director and mentor has prepared him to lead this show. Now that the time has come to bring back live performances, he’s ready to have a cast back on a live stage. LTV studios, typically a television studio, is now hosting multiple live performances, one of which is Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike on the recently purchased stage.
Live theater is back and taking to new stages, so be sure to check out this “bittersweet and often hilarious comedy,” from the work of Durang and the direction of O’Reilly.
Tickets are $30 for general admission to the show. The play contains some adult language and themes, and is recommended for ages 16 and up. For tickets go to ltveh.org/events.