Bus Stop rides on!

Jan. 18, 2002, midnight | By Annie Peirce | 18 years, 12 months ago

Student-directed play accelerating toward greatness

Finally, a play that proves the world does not revolve around the cowboy. Set in a Midwestern diner in the 1950s, Bus Stop is a fun comedic drama in which humorous wise cracks, "swell" slang, and biting sarcasm are combined with more serious contemplations of love, sex, innocence, and self-discovery.

William Inge's Bus Stop, the first student-directed play from the Blair thespians in almost three years, tells the story of five travelers stranded in the small café run by the sassy but lonely Grace Hoylard (sophomore Katie Aboudou) and the innocent Elma Duckworth (junior Lindsay Schubert). The small café is part of rural town protected by the respectable Sheriff Will Masters (senior Luke Allen).

The peaceful opening of the diner is soon disturbed by the arrival of a frantic passenger from the bus, Cherie (sophomore Jordan McCraw), who is attempting to outrun the attentions of her too-amorous pursuer, cowboy Bo Decker (senior Ben Woo). The Sheriff takes up her cause but as Bo and his wise sidekick Vergil Blessing are still asleep on the bus, matters are postponed by the arrival of the bus driver, Carl (junior Eric Schaffer) and other passengers, including the egotistical and yet self-despising Dr. Gerald Lyman (senior Joe Howley) who immediately attaches himself to the youthful Elma.

Matters soon escalate as Bo is faced with the previously unconsidered situation that the woman he loves might not love him back and the naïve Elma is ignorant of the professor's increasingly drunken advances.

Cherie, meanwhile, in a move typical of the actress Marilyn Monroe (who played her character in the film version of Bus Stop), accomplishes changing from one skimpy period dress to another while still on stage behind the diner's counter. This move seems to be for no apparent reason except that it gives Cherie an excuse to be wearing a skimpy chanteuse dress for the rest of the play and male audience members get to wonder what exactly she is doing behind the curtained table.

The play is brimming with old Blair stage stars from Blair's fall play, Midsummer Night's Dream, including Allen, Howley, Schubert, and McCraw. Allen, last seen as Bottom, casts off his ass ears to play the tough but sagely sheriff who attempts to keep the peace as tensions escalate in the diner. McCraw plays a stunningly convincing Marilyn Monroe after her performance of the innocent Helena. Howley, no stranger to playing a lonely old man after being Mr. Lorry in Tale of Two Cities last year, is for the first time a drunken pedophile who as he becomes increasingly drunk, stumbles about ranting bits of Shakespeare (nothing new for Howley) and surprisingly thoughtful reflections about the human existence. Schubert, once again playing opposite Howley after being Hippolyta in Midsummer, is no longer playing her normal role as the stoic wife to violent husbands. Instead, Schubert plays the blissfully ignorant Elma who must encounter the harshness of the world through the stranded travelers.

The entire cast of the play is brilliant: the script allows for every character to have significant time on stage and every actor uses his or her time to create incredibly deep and vivid characters which might otherwise have fallen into stereotypes: the singing blond, the sensitive cowboy, the wise friend, the young innocent, the depressed drunkard, the sleazy driver, and the lonely waitress.

The excellent direction of Seniors Shira Kahan and Miriam Sievers as well as the incredible talent of the Blair Thespians help to create the vivid world of the 1950s in a fast-moving hilarious philosophical comedy that keeps the audience laughing and thinking at the same time. Bus Stop is great entertainment perfect for relieving the incredible stress of exam week.

Bus Stop shows for the last time on Friday, January 18, 2002 in the auditorium at 7:30.

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Annie Peirce. Annie Peirce is a senior in the Communications Arts Program and the public relations manager for Silver Chips. She is also an opinions editor for Silver Chips Online. She was born on October 25, 1984, in a hospital somewhere in Prince George's County; but doesn't … More »

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