Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike Humanities Forum
Avenue of the Arts / BU Theatre
Featuring Harvard University professor Julie A. Buckler following the 2pm matinee performance on Sunday, January 18. Admission is free with the purchase of a ticket to any performance of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.
The Humanities Forum explores the context and significance of the play with a leading expert. Past forums have featured historians Doris Kearns Goodwin (Team of Rivals) and Beverly Morgan-Welch (Museum of African-American History), playwrights Paula Vogel and Lydia R. Diamond, Boston Globe columnists, and accomplished scholars. The Humanities Forum is presented following a select Sunday matinee performance.
Julie Buckler is Professor of Slavic and Comparative Literature at Harvard University, where she works on the literature, performing arts, cultural life, and urban environments of Russia, with a focus on the imperial period and its legacies. Buckler received her BA from Yale University in Russian and East European Studies, and her doctorate in Slavic from Harvard. She has spent her academic career at Harvard, appointed as a junior professor in 1996 and awarded tenure by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in 2003. Ms. Buckler is the author of two award-winning books: The Literary Lorgnette: Attending Opera in Imperial Russia (Stanford, 2000) and Mapping St. Petersburg: Imperial Text and Cityscape (Princeton, 2005). She has also co-edited a collection of essays, Rites of Place: Public Commemoration in Russia and Eastern Europe (Northwestern, 2013). Her current book project is titled Cultural Properties: The Afterlife of the Imperial in Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia. She is also co-editing a volume of collected essays titled Russian Performances, which brings the theoretical and interdisciplinary subfield of Performance Studies to bear on a diverse range of performative phenomena in Russian culture, past and present.
About Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
In this wickedly wonderful Chekhovian mashup from master of comedy Christopher Durang (Betty's Summer Vacation), Vanya and Sonia's quiet, bucolic life is hilariously upended when their glamorous movie star sister arrives for the weekend with her brawny boy toy in tow. A Tony Award-winning Broadway sensation, this rollicking and touching new comedy pays loving homage to Chekhov's classic themes of loss and longing.
Approximate run time: 2 hours and 10 minutes, including one 10 minute intermission
"I'll never forget the experience of sitting among an audience overcome with the explosive laughter elicited by this hysterical riff on the work of the world's great playwrights. The brilliant Christopher Durang has written a clever and creative play, and I know our smart, Chekhov-savvy audience will find much to recognize and relish. I look forward to welcoming Christopher back to the Huntington." — Peter DuBois
"In my 20s, I read Chekhov's plays and loved them. My impetus for Vanya... was the realization that I am now the age of Chekhov's older characters. And I found myself wanting to write a comic play — not a parody, but its own thing. Set in Bucks County (PA) in the present. So I took themes and characters from Chekhov, and put them into a comic blender."— Christopher Durang