About Christopher Durang
Born in 1949, Mr. Durang’s first plays were produced in college – Harvard and Yale, no less. He has so far written 16 full-length plays, 36 one-act plays, 19 screen/teleplays … usually satires, dark comedies, absurdist or parodies, sometimes all four in one, and always wickedly funny. Think you don’t know his work? Perhaps you have heard of these titles: Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, The Actor’s Nightmare, Miss Witherspoon, Beyond Therapy, The Idiots Karamazov … you get the idea.
For his efforts, he’s won three Obie awards, a Tony nomination, a Pulitzer Prize nomination and induction into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.
Oh, and the Tony award for Best Play in 2013 for Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike.
Why so many comedies? As Mr Durang himself once said, “A slightly pretentious answer might be to say I didn’t choose comedy, comedy chose me … There was a lot of sadness in my family so theoretically I could also have written sad, sad dramas … but I just wasn’t drawn to it. I like to laugh.”
He continues to write and is co-director of the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program at Juilliard.
Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike.
Written in 2012, it found its way to Broadway by 2013. There it won the Tony award for Best Play, the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play, and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play.
The play is a representation of a Chekhov play … well, no, that’s not true.
The play uses characters from Chekhov’s plays … scratch that, that’s not right.
Let’s let Christopher Durang explain. “My play is not a Chekhov parody… I take Chekhov scenes and characters and put them into a blender.” Knowing a little Chekov will help you catch a few of the in-jokes, but as the NY Times put it, “Even if you’ve never read a word of Chekhov, you’re likely to find plenty to make you laugh”. The characters are full of self delusions and self-pity, but this is “a sunny new play about gloomy people … (where) heartache is generally fodder for belly laughs!”