North Theatre’s Bus Stop, directed by Britta Schlicht, beautifully depicts William Inge’s classic story of a quaint diner on the route of a bus. In the middle of a howling blizzard, a bus is stuck at a small diner for the night. It’s passengers are forced to spend some time together at Grace’s Diner, run by a lady named Grace, and her employee, Elma, a young high-school student. The passengers include Bo, a classic cowboy on his way to Montana with his “Fiancé” Cherie, a nightclub chanteuse, whom Bo has kidnapped and hopes to marry, Virgil, Bo’s companion, who watches over Bo and tries to give the hardheaded cowboy advice, Dr. Lyman, a somewhat creepy academic who seems to take a strange liking to Elma. Also thrown into the volatile mix is the town Sheriff, Will Masters, and Carl, the bus driver.
The play touches on many themes including the complex workings of love. There are three situations exploring the topic, the obvious one is the situation with Bo and Cherie. Bo wishes to marry Cherie and thinks that just because they slept together he has some sort of right to her. He is very green and had never touched a woman in his life before Cherie. Then there is the situation with Doctor Lyman who takes a strange liking to the young Elma. The obvious age difference creates a strange dynamic in which Doctor Lyman makes several moves on Elma and Elma, being very young, doesn’t know any better than to go along. Until the truth is learned about Doctor Lyman and that he is not as accomplished and normal as he seems. He is actually a known stalker of children. Through the play the progression of Lyman as a character is probably the most interesting. Through the play one sees a certain amount of disgrace and shame on the Doctors part. By the time the bus is fixed and they get moving again, Lyman is a changed man. Then the third dynamic is that of Grace and Carl and, though it is fleeting, it gives insight into the life of grace. It is clear that she has had relations with many other bus drivers despite her insistence that she has not. In these three dynamics we see three different variations on love. In Bo and Cherie we see the purity of Bo mixed with the obvious experience of Cherie. It is a love that at the beginning doesn’t seem like it could get anywhere but still manages to work out at the end. Then there are the…