Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Director: Eric Forsythe Scenic Design: Alex Casillas Costume Design: Hayley Ryan Lighting Design: David Thayer Sound Design: Wade Hampton Stage Manager: Lindsay Warnick
David Thayer Theatre
Comments by the Designer
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is a modern comedy by Christopher Durang that is influenced by the works of Anton Chekhov. The play centers on the relationship between three middle-aged siblings in their family home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
Vanya and Sonia, who spent their lives taking care of their ailing parents, have oversized clothing and neutral color palettes based on birds that they reference. Sonia’s brown, tan, and green color palette mirrors her feeling of being a wild turkey. Vanya’s color palette of grey, white, and blue is suggestive the blue heron. In stark contrast to the neutral colors and plain textures of Vanya and Sonia, their sister Masha, a movie star, has a tight skirt, glitzy jewelry, and bright red shoes. She also brings along her new young love Spike, who dresses casually and is not the brightest of people. Cassandra, Vanya and
Sonia’s maid who dresses in a scrub top and knee pads, often prophesizes their futures.
The characters attend a costume party as characters from Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. I wanted to look to the animated movie as reference for the costumes. At the same time, I took a few liberties, such as a more revealing neckline for Snow White, and choosing to put the prince in the purple instead of blue. Dopey and Doc’s costumes were made to be oversized in order to diminish the size of the actors. Sonia goes as the Evil Queen in a sequin dress, tiara, and shiny shoes, as this is the only night of her life that she gets to be in the spotlight. In the last scene of the play the costumes reflect the characters at the beginning of the play but also their renewed sense of self. For example, Sonia has a similar color palette but her costume fits closer to her body and is more decorative. Masha maintains her accent red while being a bit more subdued in her hair, jewelry, and footwear.
Overall, my design for Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike closely follows the characters’ personalities as they change throughout the play.
Copyright 2016 Hayley Ryan