Sigourney Weaver having a ball as a 'peacock'
This publicity image released by The O + M Company shows playwright Christopher Durang, left, with actress Sigourney Weaver at curtain call on opening night of "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike". (AP Photo/The O + M Company, Bruce Glikas)
NEW YORK (AP) — The good news for Sigourney Weaver was that her friend, the playwright Christopher Durang, had a juicy part for her in a new play. It wouldn't even be too much of a stretch — she'd be playing a movie star.
The sticky part: This movie star was overindulgent, self-centered and unaware she's on the decline. She also at one point dons an unflattering old Disney-inspired Snow White costume and insists her friends dress as dwarfs to complement it.
It gets worse: Durang had Weaver in mind when he wrote it.
Perhaps only a friendship and collaboration that has lasted more than 40 years could result in Weaver happily playing Masha these days in the brilliant "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" on Broadway, a play likely to score at least a few Tony Award nominations next week.
Weaver, 63, never hesitated about doing the role: "I didn't," she says laughing over coffee at a midtown cafe. "I guess I thought I was different enough from Masha, that I would be fine. And I'm very fond of her."
The play, which played off-Broadway last year and recently made the jump to the Golden Theatre, centers on three middle-aged siblings. Two of them — Vanya, played by David Hyde Pierce, and Sonia, portrayed by Kristine Nielsen — have been sitting around their Pennsylvania home and bickering for years.
The sibling who escaped, Masha, has become an insufferable movie star and has returned with a 29-year-old boy-toy — that would be Spike — to sell the house and pitch her siblings out onto the street.
"Sweetest Vanya, dearest Sonia," Masha says to them when she arrives, looking great, of course. "How I've missed you. You both look the same. Older. Sadder. But the same."
Masha had initially wanted to become the American Judi Dench but got waylaid in a lucrative franchise playing a nymphomaniac serial killer and went through several husbands. "I'm talented, charming, successful — and yet they leave me. They must be insane," she muses.
Masha, whom Weaver calls a "great peacock of a person," needs to be taken down a few pegs and it finally happens, with Weaver slowly coming to the realization that her fussy Hollywood queen act can't last forever.
This theater publicity image released by The O + M Company shows David Hyde Pierce, left, and Sigourney Weaver in "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike". Weaver plays Masha in the brilliant "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" on Broadway, a play likely to score at least a few Tony Award nominations next week. (AP Photo/The O + M Company, Carol Rosegg)
"It has to be over-the-top at the beginning. It's a performance that she utterly believes," she says. "I feel like an exhausted bird. I think it takes a lot of effort to manifest that kind of persona. When she gives it up, I think she feels better."