By Daniel Lahr

Contributing Writer

If you were to look up “funny,” you would find among the definitions “difficult to explain or understand; strange.” So, if you look at things in your own life that are difficult to explain or understand, you might call them funny.

Comedy often finds its heart in misfortune and dysfunction. The production of PCPA’s “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” revels in that sentiment … and it works.

When we meet Sonia and Vanya dysfunction and awkwardness are already on full display, but the laugh-out-loud moments begin when Masha arrives with her much younger beefcake of a boyfriend, Spike.

The entire play takes place in the family’s home in Bucks County, Pa., and the set is extremely well crafted. You can tell a lot of love went into creating this set, which makes it all the more relatable as the main characters come to grips with the fact that their rich and famous sister is going to sell the family home.

There are antics aplenty, and most of them are not what you would expect, which is what makes the comedy so much fun.

One of the funniest characters is Annali Fuchs-Wackowski’s Cassandra, the family maid, who is also a soothsayer and dabbles in some magic.

Vanya and Sonia, played by Peter S. Hadres and Anne Guynn, are perfect as characters who never leave the house and have no life at all.

However, Polly Firestone Walker’s Masha really carries the play. She makes her character a loveable antagonist as the practically naked Spike drools over her constantly.

This contemporary play began to grow its legs when it premiered on Broadway in 2013 and has been getting accolades ever since.

Some of its elements seem to come from “left field” at times, but there is a sincerity about the humor that is touching.

“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” will be playing at the Solvang Festival Theater through July 22. Tickets are $39 to $55.50 and are available by calling 805-922-8313 or visiting