Durang on Chekhov/Durang on Durang

Anton Chekhov

“I had the idea to write Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike a few years ago, when I realized that I was now the age that Vanya was (or seemed to be). And, like Vanya and other Chekhov characters, I started to reassess choices made in the past. I live in a stone farmhouse with my partner, the writer-actor John Augustine, on a small hill in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. I choose to live here for the quiet and the trees, and there is a small pond where a blue heron comes and sees what is available to eat. But I started to think to myself, what if I didn’t live here with my partner but with my adopted sister, and the two of us had spent 15 years taking care of our elderly and eventually incoherent parents. What if we never left the house we lived in as children, and felt jealous of our older sister, who was a glamorous stage and film star? She sends us money, but our lives feel empty and unexciting. What if my life had been closer to a Chekhov play?

By the way, I also have cherry trees around the house. About nine of them, I’d say. Very pretty two weeks a year.

My play is not a parody. It is set in the present day. Once I finished the first draft, I started to say to people, “The play takes Chekhov characters and themes and puts them into a blender.”  

–Christopher Durang

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike will be performed at PlayMakers through October 5, 2014. For tickets, call 919.962.PLAY (7529) or visit our website.