Tacoma Arts Live Presents ‘Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike’

This evening, “Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike” opens at Theater on the Square, marking the beginning of a return of regional, professional theater productions in downtown Tacoma through Tacoma Arts Live (previously Broadway Center for the Performing Arts).

The show is unique in that it is both hilarious and accessible — modern-day characters cope with familiar themes of aging and purpose, change in the face of technology, and family disfunction — and sophisticated, referencing the works of playwright Anton Chekhov in both obvious and subtle ways.

The result? A play that is often funny, sometimes absurd, and, in a few key places, touching. Three siblings, Vanya, Sonia, and Masha — all of whom are named after Chekhov characters — grapple with regret and existential dread for myriad reasons.

Vanya (David Quicksall) and Sonia (April Poland) are both in their 50s but live together in their childhood home, never having left after spending years caring for their sick parents. The cooped-up tension that exists between the two is only exacerbated with the arrival of their sister, Masha (Casi Pruitt), a successful movie-star who brings her 20-something boyfriend, Spike (Rodman Bolek), in tow for a weekend visit.

The childlike romp that ensues includes nonsensical rants, occasional moments of delicate hope, and a touch of voodoo magic. Encapsulating at once explosive nostalgia, fraught anxiety, and unlikely resolutions, the show teeters between ridiculous and sincere, refined and mundane. The cast easily navigates this complexity, telling a lively story that will make you both laugh and think.

“Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike” runs from Nov. 8 through Nov. 25 at Theater on the Square. Tickets are available at tacomaartslive.org.

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