Talk about some big shoes to fill. The Phoenix Theatre opened its season Thursday night with the Tony Award–winning Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, a remarkable Best Play pick this summer now making its first off-Broadway move. After playwright Christopher Durang’s latest success recently ended its successful run with Sigourney Weaver and David Hyde Pierce, the Phoenix called in its own big guns for this dynamic—and often wacky—dark comedy.
Hoosier acting heavyweights including Charles Goad, Diane Kondrat, Jen Johansen, and Pete Lindblom play, respectively, Vanya, Sonia, Masha, and Spike.
Without giving away too much, the setting is the affluent Bucks County, Penn., area lined with stone houses situated a bit more than an hour away from Manhattan. As three adult siblings reunite (Spike is Masha’s boytoy), it’s apparent that the rivalry among them has never quite subsided, especially when Masha returns home famous.
Not long ago, we in Indy bid farewell to Kondrat, as she embarked on her westward journey to act in Portland. But bringing the human condition of suffering to light and finding the humor within the pain are two reasons she says she couldn’t turn down the role of Sonia. “Everybody suffers,” Kondrat says. “So, it brings an audience very close to this specific type of character because they recognize her fears. I just could not pass this up. It’s a wonderful part.”
It also turns out to be perfect timing for Kondrat, as she isn’t currently tied down to a roles in Portland—and it didn’t hurt at all that she gets to wear a tiara and sequined dress.
Witty, intelligent, and full of belly laughs—that’s this show. Catch Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike—as well as Kondrat herself—through Oct. 20. After the close of this performance, Mrs. Kondrat will return to Portland.
Show runs Sept. 19 through Oct. 20. Thurs. 7 p.m., Fri. and Sat. 8 p.m., Sun 2 p.m. $28 for adults; $18 for 21 and under. General-admission “CheapSeats” available for $18 through Sept. 22. Phoenix Theatre, 749 N. Park Ave., 317-635-7529, phoenixtheatre.org