Monday, August 04, 2008

Bus Stop

Mt. Hood Repertory Theatre
July 19 - August 10, 2008


It's 1955 in a diner near Kansas City. Eight strangers, including a professor, two cowboys, a lounge singer, a sheriff, two waitresses and a bus driver wait in the middle of the night. What emerges from their individual lives is a bittersweet classic comedy that explores all sides of relationships.


Anonymous said...

this was a tidy production of a classic. great set, perfect casting.
the style and modulation of the comedy/tragedy blend was nearly masterful.
we come away not only loving the characters, each and everyone of them flawed, but with a profound respect for mr. inge.
as good a piece of theatre as you will find in town.

Anonymous said...

Theater’s ‘Bus Stop’ its best performance to date

Great set, character actors make Midwest diner come alive onstage

By Sharon Nesbit

The Gresham Outlook, Jul 23, 2008

Don’t miss “Bus Stop.”

This year’s main stage production by Mt. Hood Repertory Theatre is its best production ever. Artistic director Tobias Andersen can quit apologizing about not doing a comedy.

There is a lot of fun in Grace’s Diner in the middle of Kansas in the middle of the 1950s during a snowstorm. And when it is over, when Virgil walks out the door into the snowy night, you realize playwright William Inge has had a lot to say about how people love each other.

The cast carries this great play lightly across the best set ever produced at Mt. Hood Rep. It looks and acts like an old-fashioned diner, lacking only the smell of the grill.

I did notice a deficiency of calendars. Writer William Least-Heat Moon said every rural restaurant has at least three. But the set designers – perhaps those local high school and college interns who worked with them – did remember to put a Jackalope above the door.

And the music worked. Granted this is an older crowd – maybe the only people in the area not attending the Batman flick Saturday night – but when Bill Haley struck up “Rock Around the Clock” the audience was right there in Grace’s Diner wishing for a cherry Coke.

And the players. It never occurred to me that Chelsie Kinney wasn’t Elma Duckworth, naive schoolgirl waitress. Her postures, her footwork, her eagerness worked at every level. Similarly, MaryAnne Glazebrook, the Grace of the diner, and a woman capable of the occasional dalliance, could even flirt with her feet.

If there was a jarring note – and perhaps it was meant to be – it was that Jeffrey Watson, as a guileless and lovesick cowboy, came on too strong. I would have liked some softer moments from Jill Westerby as Cherie, his uninterested love interest. Admittedly, she and Watson are the least subtle of the characters forced to spend the night at Gracie’s Diner.

Randy Patterson’s grave demeanor as law officer Will Masters was lovely to watch and when he paid for a whole thermos of coffee with coins, deliberately counting out nickels and dimes, you knew you were not in 2008 anymore.

Galen B. Schrick blended lechery and gallantry as Dr. Gerald Lyman while Doug Richardson, as Carl the bus driver/Lothario, made snickering and smugness an art.

At first, Corey Brunish, as Virgil Blessing, wanders the stage, a kind graceful ghost, present but not overwhelming. Then he looms large as a wise, but awkward presence. You like him.

As you will like the people at Grace’s Diner.