Vanya and also Sonia and Masha and also Spike. Quite a mouthful, isn’t it? The wordy title mirrors the contents of this snappy, dialogue heavy play, and seems brief in comparichild to the lengthy crosstalk that is current throughout the present. Written by Christopher Durang (well-known for his absurdist plays), the show is chock full of Chekhov, both thematically and textually (Vanya is a character from among Chekhov’s plays, and also a “cherry orchard” is discussed a few times). It revolves approximately 3 middle-aged siblings, and a few other strange characters as they butt heads and also break dvery own. “Vanya and Sonia” premiered in 2012 and opened up Off-Broadway in 2013, through a cast that included Sigourney Weaver as Masha and also Billy Magnussen as Spike. It obtained six nomicountries at the 67th Tony Awards and earned Filipino producer Jhett Tolentino a Tony Award for Best Play.

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First off, the incredible set architecture by Miguel Faustmann need to be identified, as it is the initially point you check out upon entering the theater, and also it is just striking. An old lake residence sits onphase. It is filled via cozy looking furniture, adorned via wood trimmings, and littered with miscellaneous paraphernalia. Surrounding the house is lush greenery that appears as if it were plucked right out of the woodland. Pair every one of this via John Batalla’s professional lighting, and also you have actually one very realistic and outstanding collection.

(READ: Meet the Cast of Rep’s ‘Vanya and Sonia and Masha and also Spike’)

collection architecture by Miguel Faustmann

Christopher Durang’s composing is the genuine star of the present. When it’s loud and outrageous, so are the laughs, but also in it’s a lot of subtle moments, “Vanya and also Sonia” is so expertly created that you’re still listening to every word and also watching eexceptionally activity through laser focus. In the first scene, Vanya (Michael Williams) quietly sits dvery own in the day room with his morning cup of coffee. Shortly thereafter, his adopted sister Sonia (Roselyn Perez) comes in via a cup of coffee for Vanya, and also is surprised to watch he currently has actually one. The 2 start to bicker, and Vanya’s perfectly cold demeanour clashes via Sonia’s despondent one. As straightforward as it appears, this scene just serves as a testament to the toughness of the composing and performances. In this display, even the pauses in between sentences are tinged via neurosis. Barging into the thick of it all is Cassandra (Naths Everett), whose outrageous character is resemblant of her namesake, the Grecian prophet cursed to be disthought. After that, the 3rd sibling, Masha (Cherie Gil), waltzes in through a young guy, Joaquin Valdes’ Spike (later on reveacaused be her ‘beloved’). Insert the bubbly Nina (Mica Pineda), and you have a cocktail of characters that make for one explosive and hysterical present.

Roselyn Perez (Sonia) and Michael Williams (Vanya)

Due to the persistently optimistic nature of her character, Mica Pineda’s Nina comes off as bland once contrasted with the various other vibrant people in the present, though this is due to the product, and not the actress herself. Naths Everett’s Cassandra is eccentric, and also on more than one occasion, delivers an extensive and uproarious prophecy-induced spiel. Joaquin Valdes plays Spike extremely well. Even even more absurd than Cassandra, Spike is bigger than life, what via his narcissistic airs and in-your-challenge energy. Valdes took a character that was exceptionally basic to hate and made him quite likable. Michael Williams’ Vanya offers a routilizing minutes-long, rapid-fire monologue about the differences in between the fifties and also existing day and also warranted a prolonged round of applausage from the audience. Cherie Gil plays the diva that has every little thing going for her, takes that character to new heights. But when it involves Masha’s emotional upheaval in the at an early stage in the second act, Gil plays it to perfection. Without a doubt, the best performance goes to Roselyn Perez for her take on Sonia. While the majority of actors obtained to screen their acting chops with big, dramatic monologues (Perez included) she triumphed via her underdeclared and also truly splendid performance. This is many apparent in the scene wbelow she takes a phone call: though we only hear Sonia’s side of the conversation, Perez maneras to not just engage you and also make you laugh, but she truly moves you as well.

L-R: Cherie Gil (Masha), Joaquin Valdes (Spike), Mica Pineda (Nina)

In his director’s notes, Bart Guingona describes the cast as one that “comes as close to perfection as possible”, and also he is exactly best. From Michael William’s stoic Vanya, to Roselyn Perez’s woeful Sonya, Cherie Gil’s dramatic, easily-distressed Masha, Joaquin Valdes’ perfectly arrogant, air-headed Spike, Naths Everett’s kooky Cassandra, and also Mica Pineda’s blissfully hopeful Nina, this actors has elevated the bar very high for acting in 2017.

L-R: Michael Williams (Vanya), Mica Pineda (Nina), Naths Everett (Cassandra), Roselyn Perez (Sonia), Cherie Gil (Masha), Joaquin Valdes (Spike)

The best comedies have a tiny bit of drama in them, and the ideal dramas have actually some comedy. “Vanya and Sonia and also Masha and Spike” is about the dysfunctional partnership between 3 middle-aged siblings, and also while it sounds like those are the ingredients for a heavy drama, Durang has regulated to blfinish the 2 genres together so perfectly, through scenes flitting from dramatic to comedic from moment to minute. The manuscript is truly masterful, however with Guingona’s superb direction and also amazing performances from its all-star cast, the show has certainly come to be the one to beat this year, and so beforehand as well.

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Alphonzo Alegrado

Filmmaker and also photographer by day, resident reviewer at Theater Fans Manila by night. Lover of storytelling in all its forms. View his personal work-related here.

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