Olathe Civic Theatre Association | Director’s Notes from Nino Casisi – Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
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Director’s Notes from Nino Casisi – Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

28 Apr Director’s Notes from Nino Casisi – Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

When asked for a few thoughts on Christopher Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, here’s what director Nino Casisi had to say:

“‘We used to lick postage stamps.’ It’s a pretty awkward way to start a conversation. But when you think about what it means, it all makes sense…the thought of change and the inevitable scares everyone in one way or another. Vanya refers to postage stamps to explain his life and how things change throughout the years. May it be technology, laziness, or just a lack of interest; his living situation is on the brink of change and so is his familiar way of life as he knows it. But change can be good. It can be uplifting and move you into a different way of looking at life. That’s Christopher Durang for you. Always making his audiences think.”

On the Greek and Chekhovian themes in the show:

“The Greek aspect is within the character of Cassandra…who is more like the Greek tragedy Cassandra, known for her prophecies and spouting her foreseen predictions to warn those around her of danger. Cassandra does that in this show in a comical yet absurd way. Nobody takes her seriously…but is she right about her predictions? Hmmmmmm. Christopher Durang has explained in previous interviews that his play is not a Chekhov parody, rather he takes Chekhov scenes and characters and put them into a blender. Vanya and company share names with Chekhov characters, but they are not quite the same characters.”

You should see it because:

“You’ll witness a story line that will make you laugh, cry, even ponder your own life. In OCTA’s cozy theatre, you’ll feel like you’re lying on a back lawn under the cherry orchards listening in on some very private and funny conversations being spouted from this family’s back porch in Bucks County, PA. Eavesdropping at its best…”

On working with this cast and special thanks:

“With biting dialogue, comical situations, and characters that are so well written, to bring them to the stage with these actors will be a rewarding dream-come-true with hilarious results. It’s both a good old-fashioned absurdist comedy and a farce with ribbons of drama.

I would like to first and foremost thank OCTA for this opportunity to direct one of the funniest, newest, and more absurdist of Durang’s comedies. It has been an absolute thrill and exciting journey from start to finish. I would like to also thank this tireless cast and crew for their creativity, hard work, and dedication to both me and the project. A true dream come true. I hope you enjoy our endeavors!”

The photos below are stills from the sneak peek video by our friends Victoria and Shawn Hoffman. Watch it for interviews with Nino and members of the cast!


Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike runs April 21 – May 7, Fridays/Saturdays 8 pm and Sundays at 2 pm.

To purchase or reserve tickets, visit: http://olathetheatre.org/the-season/vanyaandsonia/.

Outtakes from OCTA’s interview with Nino Casisi on Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, at OCTA April 21-May 7, 2017.

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