Fleetwood Community Theatre takes on Chekhov with a Pennsylvania twist

Shown here is the cast of Fleetwood Community Theatre’s production of “Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike.”

Fleetwood Community Theatre is presenting the Tony Award winning comedy “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” by Christopher Durang. This six character play, directed by Tara Sands, has all the great comedy elements and will take the stage in Fleetwood at 5 West Arch Street for one weekend only starting May 4.

We’re not in Russia anymore! Durang has intricately woven the plots and character of the 3 most well known Chekhov titles into this modern day comedy. Vanya and his adopted sister Sonia are still living at the family’s homestead in BuckS County, Pennsylvania. They use to spend their days caring for their aging parents, but now they spend their days bemoaning their lack of a life.

Vanya is an introverted homosexual male, portrayed by Stephen Miller (Fleetwood). Vanya is in his late fifties and has never really had the need to get out of his pajamas. He is the quiet yet practical peacemaker. Miller has the right deadpan delivery, soothing tones, and expressions to bring Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya into the 21st Century.

Sonia is equally bored with her life now. She is the constant thinker and is artistically acted by LeAnne Zettlemoyer (Kempton). Sonia’s daily pleasantries consist of bringing Vanya his morning coffee and watching for the blue heron’s appearance at the pond. This particular morning, Vanya has disrupted her routine by getting his own coffee, and the heron didn’t come to visit either. This starts the self-deprivation angst (not unlike Nina in The Seagulls)

Sonia’s woes are put on hold long enough to announce the visit of their movie star sister. Masha breezes in and commands the room like many celebrities do. Cathy Leibensperger (Shoemakersville) returns to the Fleetwood stage as the center-of-attention yet insecure oldest sibling. Masha left the family home years ago to be a famous actress. Her claim to fame is a series of movies titled “Sexy Killer.” And while these films brought her the fame she desired and the fortune to pay for the care of the family home and her parents – they did nothing about finding her true happiness. She has brought a guest with her during this visit home, her much younger boyfriend, Spike.

Joey Lovello, (son of Brandywine Bullets wrestling coach Sam Lovello) is the stereotypical millennial playboy, Spike. An aspiring actor, Spike is very aware of how to capture the attention of his audience. Lovello brings a playful, confident, and witty attitude to Spike who is not uptight about his body like the “older generation.” After striping down to his shorts and wading in the pond, he returns with the neighbors’ niece, Nina. Samantha Moore (Oley) is making her debut as Nina, the optimistic dreamer.

The final character is Cassandra – Vanya and Sonia’s housekeeper. Cassandra lives up to her Greek goddess namesake in that she has the gift of foresight but is cursed that no one ever believes her premonitions to be plausible until its too late. Cassandra is played by Melissa Kopicz (Blandon). Kopicz has been showing her comedic skills on the FCT stage for 15 years and will not disappoint as the soothe-saying, spunky cleaning lady who warns of Hootie Pie, a Greek with Trojans in his back pocket, and Sonia and Vanya walking to the poorhouse.

That night the siblings and their guests are to attend a neighbor’s costume party. Masha decides everyone’s costume needs to go with the theme of hers. And while everyone participates according to her wishes – Sonia has put a personal spin on her costume that outshines the starlet. To bring control of the situation back to her, Masha announces right as they are leaving for the party that she is planning to sell the family home.

The siblings each have an epiphany before the end of Act 2 that can change all of their lives.

Fleetwood Community Theatre is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) volunteer organization of theatre lovers currently in their 30th Anniversary season. FCT is committed to the education and development of their membership within the theatre arts program by offering opportunities to all ages both on-stage and behind the scenes. As an outlet of quality musical, dramatic and ensemble productions, it encourages and supports local youth to pursue performing arts opportunities through school, church, collegiate or other local productions.

Performances are May 4, 5, & 6 at 7:30 p.m. and May 6 & 7 at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets are $15 in advance - or $18 at the door. ($2 fee per ticket for Credit Card purchases)

Assigned seating for all shows so get your tickets early to assured a good seat. Call 484-637-7067.

For more information on Fleetwood Community Theatre please visit our website www.fleetwoodcommunitytheatre.com or like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FleetwoodTheatre

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