The opportunity to not be herself at the costume party transforms Sonia, literally. Ostensibly going as the Evil Queen, she dresses in an elegant gown, sparkly jewelry, and a tiara. After the party, we learn that she had spent her time being scintillating company in the accented guise of “Maggie Smith on her way to the Oscars.”
Vanya also comes into his own, in a timid fashion, by having them all do a reading of a terrible play he’s written. (It’s “about weather,” and Nina plays a molecule.) This segues into a lengthy tirade about loss of the innocent past and the superficiality of the present generation (Spike started texting during the reading). Durang ably conveys the Chekhovian ennui of our day. But he is less interested in crossing all the playwriting Ts and dotting the Is, resolving the threatened homelessness of Vanya and Sonia with an arbitrary change of mind by Masha. Nonetheless, it’s hard to leave this amalgam of delights and concerns unsatisfied.