Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

By Christopher Durang

Directed by Michael Ennis and Leticia Tavares
Produced by Cornelia Gröger and Alice Thomas

About the Play

Middle-aged siblings Vanja and Sonia share a home in Bucks County, PA, where they bicker and complain about the circumstances of their lives. Suddenly, their movie-star sister, Masha, swoops in with her new boy toy, Spike. Old resentments flare up, eventually leading to threats to sell the house. Also on the scene are sassy maid Cassandra, who can predict the future, and a lovely young aspiring actress named Nina, whose prettiness somewhat worries the imperious Masha.

The Cast

Jim Phetterplace Jr. (Vanja)
Jim has been in theater since the 1980s. With FEST, he has performed in Breakaway and The Scheme (2015, FEST originals), The Two-Character Play, Detainee, Pinteresque, and The Madness of Lady Bright, and directed Our Country’s Good and Loot. He has additionally performed for Oper Frankfurt, Shakespeare Frankfurt and the Interkulturelle Bühne (in German), and directed for the English Theatre Frankfurt and the European Central Bank Theatre Ensemble. He has appeared in two German-language short films and one music video. He has written adaptations of works by Native American poet Beth Brant and is currently co-writing a musical adaptation of Lysistrata. Jim will direct FEST’s production of The Cherry Orchard, auditioning in October and performing in March 2024.

Jeanique Rahmlow (Sonia)
Jeanique, born in a suburb of Berlin, joined FEST in 2015 when she rediscovered her passion for performing on stage. What followed were three productions with the group: The Scheme (2015), Dial M for Murder (2015), and Our Country’s Good (2016). These sparked her interest in gaining a foundational training in the performing arts and as a result she took the Acting Part Time course at Rose Bruford College in London. She is happy to be back on stage with FEST again.

Paula Strassenmeyer (Masha)
Dubliner Paula joined FEST in2013 and has been fortunate to be cast in Bedroom Farce (2014), Our Country`s Good (2016), She, a staged reading of The Women (2018) and Landscape as part of Pinteresque (2021). She is delighted to be part of VSMS.

Michael Ennis (Spike and director)
Michael began his theatre journey in his native Ireland as a teenager many moons ago. Upon coming to Frankfurt in 2007 he quickly got involved with FEST and has been involved in many productions, such as: The Mousetrap, The Zoo Story, Death in Heels, Cinderella (Panto), A Time for Farewells, The Devil with the 3 Golden Hairs, Breakaway (writer & director), Our Country’s Good, The Lonesome West (producer) and Death of a Salesman. Apart from his involvement with FEST, Michael was also involved in productions of The Crucible and Othello with the English Theatre Frankfurt drama group and Accidental Death of an Anarchist with the ECB theatre ensemble.

Emma Merritt (Nina)
Emma made her stage debut at age nine, playing Lago the parrot in a local children’s production of Aladdin. She has played a number of supporting and major roles including M’Lynn in Steel Magnolias, Frances in Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, and Olive/Oscar in a gender-swapped The Odd Couple. She is elated to be back on stage after an 8-year hiatus to pursue her degrees and feels lucky to have done so with such a talented cast and crew. 

Julie Ng (Casandra)
Julie is excited to be making her debut on stage with FEST. Born in Manila, Philippines, she moved to the US to get her MBA, where she also met her husband. She then moved to London where she worked in corporate and moved in 2011 to Frankfurt with her husband, kids, and dogs. Julie presently works in Accounting and Special Projects for Source for Alpha AG, a wealth management firm and is also the Editor of the British Club magazine. Cassandra is the first role she auditioned for and she is thrilled to be a part of VSMS.  She would like to thank her family, friends and ALL who love, support, and believe in the Performing Arts.


Behind the Scenes

All photos by Mic Gruber.