Christopher Durang – America’s most beloved author of community theater audition monologues – has a new play called Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. In 2013 it won the Tony Award for Outstanding New Play. It won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Production, the Drama League Award for Best Production of a Play, the Drama Desk Award for Best Play, the Outer Circle Critics Award for Best Play and the Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Play. Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike prominently features a Magical Negro housekeeper who has the power of Voodoo.
If, after reading that, you think to yourself, “That’s enough. This is the 21st century and I have no interest in racial caricatures of any kind. Nothing in this play could possibly make up for this conspicuous, shameful, and easily avoidable failure; I am happy to condemn this play to company with the rest of the detritus of civilization left behind as humanity continues on its long moral arc, without hearing another word about it,” well, then, I agree with you. You can ignore this play for the rest of your life, and not be one degree the worse for it; go forth, and be not bothered by Christopher Durang.
In criticism, though, as in life, it is important to be thorough.