For a variety of reasons, Brian Allen had never directed a play by Christopher Durang. It was not for a lack of interest; he loves Durang’s outrageous sense of humor.
“It was really more about timing,” Allen said. “I waited the right amount of time to do his best play.”
This week, Good Theater opens its season with Durang’s Tony Award-winning play “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.” Allen is the theater company’s artistic director. The show is on stage at the St. Lawrence Arts Center in Portland through Nov. 20.
The play is about siblings Vanya and Sonia, who live in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and had been caring for their now-deceased elderly parents. Their movie-star sister comes home with her young boyfriend, Spike. When she arrives, she announces she is selling the family home.
“Hilarity ensues and emotions fly,” Allen said. “This is a family comedy about relationships. There’s a reason it won a Tony Award for best play. It was more than the production. It was the play itself. Durang is a masterful writer.”
Mindful of the political season, Allen wanted to open his theater season with a comedy. “I think it’s important for people to come together and laugh a little,” he said. “I wanted to start the season with something very funny, because I knew we would be in the middle of this political campaign.”
The play won the best-play Tony in 2013 and received five other Tony nominations, in addition to several other awards.
The play is set in the family home in the summer and features the largest set that Good Theater has built, designed by Craig Robinson. The cast includes Good Theater regulars Paul Haley as Vanya, Laura Houck as Sonia, Lisa Stathoplos as Masha and newcomer Marshall Taylor Thurman as Spike. Also in the cast are Meredith Lamothe and Noelle LuSane.
WHERE: St. Lawrence Arts Center, 76 Congress St., Portland
WHEN: Though Nov. 20 with performances at 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 7:30 p.m. Friday, 3 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday
TICKETS AND INFO: $22 to $30, 885-5883 or goodtheater.com