Production Critique: Bus Stop
William Inge's drama Bus Stop, famously inspired the 1956 film starring Marilyn Monroe, so happened to come to UW Oshkosh, where I was lucky enough to go see it. At first reluctant, I went for the class assignment, but I have to honestly say after seeing that play Bus Stop, it inspired me so much that I changed my minor from journalism to theater and possibly contemplating it as a dual major. It was honestly one of the greatest school performances I have ever laid eyes on. The lighting was just astounding, whether it was the emotional dimming of the stage after “the talent show”, the lime lights during the soliloquies made it very easy to connect with the characters and actors on stage, remarkably giving me chills of how great this play was. “Senior Tania Boyden, a theatre major with a design emphasis and “Bus Stop” costume designer, used this production as her senior capstone project. ‘I chose this play as my senior capstone project not only because it is was a great opportunity to display how far I’ve come, but also because of my love for the ‘50s and the design challenges that this play allowed me to work with,’ Boyden said. ‘A big part of the design on any production is using color to make connections between a character and their personality as well as connections between characters.’” I completely agree with her statement. The characters looked like either the old western cowboys or the 50’s “city folk”, making me feel like we were actually in that era and area of the country with the impeccable accents.
The play starts out in a small town outside of Kansas City in the 1950s, there was a small, street-corner restaurant called Grace's Diner. The owner of the restaurant, Grace Hoyland (played by Giovana Martin), and her waitress, Elma Duckworth (played by Mallory Radney), starts us off with a simple discussion covering each other’s love life. Grace soon takes off for most of the play until the bus driver Carl (played by Brad Skoneck) arrives. Carl wants to spend time "getting to know" Grace better and excuses himself for a "long walk." The two head up to Grace's apartment above the diner and are not seen until much later in the play. Sheriff Will Masters (played by Brian Kachelmeyer) is also in and out of the diner, making sure nobody (especially Bo) causes trouble. Former college professor, Dr. Gerald Lyman (played by Michael Stimac) is a strange yet extremely entertaining man who is always looking for a chance to spike his drink. In my opinion, I think he was one of the best actors on stage. The way he could recite Shakespeare and stagger around when he was drunk made a very unique addition to the production and very entertaining. The main plot revolved around three people: Cherie (played by Amy Baugardner), a blond chanteuse (that's French for singer), Bo Decker