Like Chekhov's plays, Durang's is about real estate (selling the house) and melancholy (wasted opportunities) and pining for the past (it was nicer then). In one hilarious cartoon scene, Masha (Weaver is a very courageous good sport) and Sonia (Kristine Nielsen, whose Maggie Smith imitation is a hoot) howl their Chekhovian laments - "My life is over" and "I have never lived" - making their mouths into comical O's.
Masha, a sultry aging film star who has made lots of money from blockbusters ( Alien, anyone?), arrives at the family's Bucks County house with her boytoy Spike (Billy Magnussen is spectacularly sexy and vulgar) in tow. Her brother, Vanya (Pierce, master of monologues and deadpan comic timing), has written a new version of Konstantin's play in The Seagull that stars a lovely young neighbor named, of course, Nina (Genevieve Angelson). The proceedings are overseen by a cleaning lady named Cassandra (Shalita Grant in an irresistible performance), who not only foretells calamities but prevents them.
Durang has written an audience-pleasing monologue for each character, although Pierce's terrific rant against the crass present, triggered by Spike's texting during his play reading, got a huge ovation - partly for the performance, and partly, I suspect, because theater audiences are in sympathy with his sentiments.
There's a slew of delectable lines scattered throughout the script. Sonia: "I dreamt I was 52 and I wasn't married." Vanya: "Were you dreaming in documentary form?" Or this: "If everyone took antidepressants, Chekhov would have nothing to write about." And neither, I imagine, would Durang, who manages to fling commentary on global warming, theater vs. film, national consciousness, and a bunch of other contemporary issues into this entertaining show.
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
McCarter Theater Center, 91 University Place, Princeton, through Oct. 14. The run is sold out; call 609-258-2787 for possible availability.