Three-hour performances are hard to pull off, but time flies when you’re having fun — and you’ll hardly see it go by — at Arena Stage’s production of “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” now playing through May 3.
The story arc is familiar enough: three people (in this case, siblings) are forced to reflect on their lives (two of them– Vanya and Sonia– are unemployed and live together in their childhood home, while the third, Masha, is a falling movie star); mid-life crises ensue; and things, however muddied, work out in the end.
I use the term “work out” loosely: just beneath the surface, the play offers a sobering look at aging, relationships, and modern life. But it’s the characters, dialogue, and little surprises that render the play comically absurd. Like the cleaning lady Cassandra, who greets Vanya and Sonia with dramatic warnings of pending doom and practices Voodoo in her spare time. Or Spike, Masha’s latest boy toy– an aspiring actor who almost landed a role in Entourage 2 and cannot seem to keep his pants on.
And Vanya’s closing monologue– “we used to lick postage stamps!” he yells at a clueless and flustered Spike– is the perfect grand finale.
*Images credit C. Stanley Photography