Studio Series season comes to a close with comedy

“” alt=”” width=”250″ height=”188″ class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-751837″ />Although some of the characters’ names sound like they were penned by Anton Chekhov, no one has to be a Chekhov buff to laugh at the antics of “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.”

So promises Steve Aguirre, director of the Community Theatre League’s production of Christopher Durang’s comedy. “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” is the last of CTL’s Studio Series attractions in the current season.

Performances are set for 7:30 p.m. April 20-21 and 2 p.m. April 22, in the Moyer Studio Theater on the third floor of the Community Theater, 100 W. Third St.

Set in the family homestead in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, two middle aged siblings Vanya and Sonia constantly lament about their circumstances and lifestyle, although neither has been employed, and both rely entirely upon their sister Masha to support them.

When their celebrated movie actress sister Masha arrives, she brings with her the latest boy toy, the much younger preening Spike. Things get topsy-turvy when Masha announces her plans to sell the family home — which coincidentally happens to be in a “Cherry Orchard.”

Adding to the hilarity is the cleaning lady Cassandra, a sooth sayer, whose dire predictions are never believed. Then Vanya’s interests are aroused when a neighbor’s bright eyed niece Nina appears, as the young actress is almost obsessed with a role in Chekhov’s “The Seagull.”

Aguirre, making his CTL directorial debut, was admittedly a bit apprehensive in making a commitment so far in advance. But, having read the play, he described it as a “wonderfully crated existential comedy by Christopher Durang that is very self aware about borrowing from Chekhov’s motifs and character types … but stands on its own without the audience needing to know (Chekhov’s) work.”

The cast is headed by veterans Keith Wagner as Vanya, the rock for his sisters; Susan Guinter as the always down-in-the-dumps, adopted Sonia; and Sandie Fairman as the aging diva movie star Masha. Jared Whitford plays the vacuous Spike, Liz Snow is the spunky Casandra and Katelyn Loss as the neighbor’s cute niece Nina complete the cast, which adds “depth, humor, hope and love to the play. Oh — and voodoo.”

The show takes place not far from where Aguirre grew up. “Directing the play has been additionally joyful in that several local references are neat notices in this Tony winning play, such as the town Upper Black Eddy and the beloved Wawa,” he said.

There’s both rivalry and regrets, plus bits of love and lust hilariously blended by Durang, in exposing the nerves of “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.”

Then there’s Vanya’s lengthy monologue — which is really more like a rant — which will not only resonate with the audience, but also tickle their funny bone.

For tickets and more information, call 570-327-1777 or visit www.ctl