The Weir at TriState
Tower of Babble at Bank Street
The Importance of Being Earnest at Holmdel
Zoo Story at Black Box
And Then There Were None at Shadowlawn
Butterflies are Free at Shadowlawn
Bus Stop at Monmouth Players
Diary of Anne Frank at TriState
A Life in the Theater at Two River
THE TWO RIVER TIMES
The Week of February 7 - 13, 2003
Bus Stop Mirrors Our Wintry Weather Monmouth Players revive 1950s play
Scene On Stage By Philip Dorian
THOSE FAMILIAR WITH William Inge's Bus Stop only from the 1956 movie may not realize that the play is
not just a star vehicle. As adapted for the screen by George Axelrod, Bus Stop is generally regarded as
Marilyn Monroe's passage from a "mere" sex symbol to a serious actress. La Monroe dominated the movie,
playing Cherie, the Ozark chanteuse, with intuitive sensitivity and vulnerability. (Bus Stop also marked the
screen debut of Don Murray as Bo Decker, the rowdy cowboy suitor.)
But Inge's play is not star-driven; it's an ensemble piece about bus passengers who are stranded by a
snowstorm in the middle of the night in a small Kansas diner. Each character has what we now call
a "backstory," and the focus of the play, which Monmouth Players is presenting weekends through February 21,
shifts from one to another fluidly. Cherie (Tricia Adicoff) is a down-on-her-luck nightclub singer being pursued by
Bo (Alex Faerman), who fell in love with her after their one-night stand. Their story, the outcome of which is never
in doubt, is the most central, but the play is constructed such that the other characters hold our interest as well.
Gerald Lyman (Bob Senkewicz), a Shakespeare quoting, fiftyish PhD, has illicit designs on teenaged
waitress Elma (Sarah Tomek). The bus driver, Carl (Bob Kern), and diner owner Grace (Karen Root) take
advantage of the weather delay to extend their longstanding flirtation into a full- fledged assignation. Virgil
(Paul Starkey), Bo's surrogate father, is a calming influence on the young cowboy, and Sheriff Masters,
(Dan Rebollo) is on hand to take control when calmness fails.
Director Lori Renick has been faithful to the 1950s mid-Western atmosphere and has cast to type with the
exception of the principal couple. Senkewicz's aging roue appears authentically scholarly,
has the requisite naivete as. Elma. Rebollo is an imposing sheriff, both in bulk and manner, and Starkey,
who has the play's poignant closing line, gets the most from Virgil's few words. Kern and Root create an
amusing, even romantic, example of desire meeting opportunity. Ms. Root is especially good, acting with
confidence and authority (it is, after all, Grace's turf); her Grace is caustic, but clearly good souled. Adicoff
and Faerman are far from Inge's vision of Cherie and Bo, but that doesn't prevent them from being a well-matched pair.
If you are stuck near home by the wintry weather, there are worse places to spend the evening than at
Grace's Bus Stop Diner.
Entire contents copyright 2003-2004 The Two River Times. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced
without permission. For more information on this webslte, send an email to the webmaster at webmasterŠtworivertimes.net.