If Durang remained here, at his best, this would be enough. Gonglewski exercises her comic chops and gets her Gloria Swanson on, while Swartz mopes and fades into the furniture - particularly in the presence of the chiseled Shaw - and Madigan careers through Chekhov's bipolar spectrum until settling comfortably, satisfyingly, on its fulcrum.

Instead, Durang adds a nymphette-next-door named Nina (Clare O'Malley) - that's The Seagull's ingenue - and in one of the play's most egregious missteps, Cassandra (Kianne Muschett), a Magical Negress and voodoo doll-poking housekeeper.

Much like her namesake, Cassandra delivers ominous portents relevant and irrelevant, such as, "Beware of chicken with salmonella," and also reluctantly serves lunch, but with a side of sass. Muschett shines, wringing humor from an uncomfortable role, but if I'm being kind, its inclusion in this play is baffling. If I'm being unkind, it's an embarrassment to the theater-producing and awarding establishment. Or at least it should be.

Vanya also launches into a misguided monologue longing for the good old days of stamps that required licking, shared cultural memories (at a time when sharing was easiest), and television shows that weren't "worthless" (at a time when television writing was at a zenith). It's a sad and poignant bit that Swartz handles achingly well, but even more, it's an indication that Durang doesn't need a fortune-telling voodoo housekeeper to tell him his own best days may be past.

Presented by Philadelphia Theatre Company at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, Broad and Lombard Streets, through April 30.
Tickets: $25-$59. 215-985-0420 or www.PhiladelphiaTheatreCompany.org.