Auditions for the OxACT spring production of VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE by Christopher Durang will take place at the Oxford Community Arts Center (10 S. College Avenue) on Monday, Feb 18 from 4:30-6:30pm, and Tuesday, Feb 19 from 6-8pm. You do NOT have to be at both auditions to be considered for a role.
The performance dates of the show are April 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, all at 7:30pm, and April 28 at 2:00.
This comedy, winner of the Tony Award for Best Play, features six characters, including
Vanya (male, 50s-60s; the elder brother). Wry, retiring, frustrated, resigned fellow. Vanya et al is an ensemble piece, but the closest to a lead role is Vanya, who acts as the peacemaker in the family and has the most stage time. He also has a pages-long eruption of a monologue at the conclusion of the play. He is gay, but not stereotypically so and lives with his adopted sister (‘together alone’) in the house of their childhood, having cared for their parents until they passed, supported financially by their sister Masha. He never had to work and was complicit in letting his life slip by without making much of it at all. Resigned to his life, more or less, at least compared to Sonia. Originally played by David Hyde Pierce.
Sonia (female, 50s; the adopted sister). Melancholic, capricious, definitely regretful, possibly desperate. A mirror image of Vanya except less resigned and more prone to manic outbursts and accusations for her state of being. She also maybe has/had a clearer image of what she wanted from life. Sonia and Masha have a raw, contentious hostility toward one another that comes out as the play progresses. May be the one worth the most sympathy.
Masha (female, 40s or 50s; the famous sister). Expansive, glamorous, haughty, frenetic. A successful and well-traveled actress, often married, Masha returns home to her siblings having found herself on the edge of “once beautiful.” Her self-deceptions are worn more on her sleeve than either of her siblings – see the flirtatious, empty-headed young companion she brings home with her. She returns to the homestead with intentions to sell it out from under her siblings, but really, she might not have had anywhere else to go. It was Durang’s friend Sigourney Weaver who originated the part.
Cassandra (female, flexible; soothsayer housekeeper). Obtrusive, kooky, dramatic. A true wildcard, gem of a comedic role, Cassandra is aptly and unambiguously named: she is a psychic prognosticator that no one believes but speaks the truth (mostly). She is also the housekeeper and somewhat of a caregiver to Sonia and Vanya. Her sudden, wild pronouncements for the future offer a lot to play around with for the adventuresome actress. I am truly open to most anything brought to the table for this character.
Spike (male, 20s or early 30s; Masha’s ‘companion’). Chiseled, flippant, devil-may- care boy toy. A preening millennial, Spike is a young actor who pays just enough attention to Masha to keep her satisfied. He does not seem to have any urgency for anything, despite the fact that he has little to show for his career thus far. But he’s got his looks, a captive audience, and believes the rest will be laid out all on a plate for him when the time comes. As fair warning, Spike does disrobe down to his underwear in the play, and maintains that status for several pages on stage. This actor needs to be confident in his body image.
Nina (female, 20s-30s; aspiring actress). Earnest, bouncy, a guileless admirer. An accidental arrival on the scene, Nina is the neighbor’s niece who has dreams of becoming an actress and has the (mis)fortune to stumble into her idol Masha. Her appearance though provokes lust in Spike and, unsurprisingly, envy in Masha.