CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, a previous version of this story incorrectly identified the relation between the play's main characters. Vania, Sonia and Masha are siblings. The story has been updated to reflect this change. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.
Presented by PlayMakers Repertory Theatre and written by Christopher Durang, the Tony Award-winning comedy takes theatrical farce to an unusual level with a combination of classic and modern components.
While the play and its writing are contemporary, the story draws several elements from the works of Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, imitating his traditional style and structure.
“It’s very reminiscent of plays like ‘The Cherry Orchard’ and ‘Uncle Vanya’,” said director Libby Appel. “If you know his plays well, you’ll hear familiar dialogue. There’s fun in discovering that, although you don’t need to know a thing to find it funny.”
Appel has been directing plays for nearly 50 years and recently published a book of translated Chekov works. She said while working on every show is unique, working with this show and its cast has been a mirthful experience.
The show revolves around a dysfunctional American family that’s thrown into chaos when the eldest of three siblings returns to sell their estate. As things quickly spiral out of control, the characters descend into a frenzy.
“I think what’s really great about this particular play is that you get a seriously absurdist comedy with this real look into human interaction,” said actress and second year grad student Arielle Yoder. “Because this family dynamic is so easily recognized across the board, it’s something we can laugh at.”
Yoder plays Nina, the next door neighbor of the family and an aspiring actress. She said Nina personifies a positive and optimistic personality, acting as a breath of fresh air for the struggling siblings.