A Twisted Tale

Have you heard the one about three sisters in a cherry orchard?

Joel Sass
Photo by Mike Habermann
Joel Sass

The Guthrie is staging another crowd pleaser this summer. But Christopher Durang’s 2013 Tony-winning comedy Vanya and Masha and Sonia and Spike has a more modern story line. In it, movie star Masha brings her 20-something boy toy, Spike, home to visit her resentful siblings Vanya and Sonia. They’ve been living a quiet life in the family cherry orchard and caring for their ailing mother while their sister has been gallivanting around the globe.

“It’s a lark, but a literate one,” says director Joel Sass. Those familiar with Anton Chekov plays like Uncle Vanya, which the Guthrie staged in the fall, will be amused by the way Durang mixes and matches characters and situations from Chekov’s works and presents them through a comedic lens. But you don’t need to know Chekov to enjoy the wacky trip.

“I’m a big fan of Durang’s anarchic type of humor,” Sass says. But this isn’t quite as edgy as plays such as Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You and Beyond Therapy. “This is a kinder, gentler Durang,” Sass says. “He finds new wit in drawing from all the Chekhovian images and themes.” July 19–Aug. 31.

Guthrie Theater, 612-377-2224,