Character-driven play produces relatable plot

Staff Writer

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Mary Moody Northen Theatre is gearing up for the second show of its 40th season, “Bus Stop.” The play, written by William Inge and directed by Christi Moore, is set in the 1950s at a Midwestern diner where travelers are trapped in after a late-season blizzard blocks the highway.

Many students from the Freshman Studies program, which requires students to see a play at the theatre, will have the chance to see “Bus Stop” during its run from Nov. 8 to Nov. 18. The play will have performances Thursday through Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Sundays. The play may be set in 1955, but students will still be able to identify with the characters.

“I’m … hopeful that …they’re going to be able to look past the time period influence on the play,” Moore said. “I’m hoping that they’re going to … see similarities between themselves and characters. Because it’s about…our wanting love, our needing love in whatever form works for us.”

This will be the fourth play Moore has directed at the Mary Moody Northen theatre. Previously, she has directed “Metamorphosis,” “Ring Around the Moon” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” at the theatre, according to Moore.

Moore currently works as the Executive Artistic Director of ScriptWorks, a playwright development and service organization she cofounded in 1997.  

The play shows an almost hyper-realistic picture of mid century America, and rather than being extremely plot-driven, it works to paint a portrait of its characters, according to Moore. Moore praised Inge’s ability to capture his characters.

“He’s a very compassionate writer. He doesn’t hide his character’s flaws, they’re right out there for everybody to see, but he’s so compassionate about the fact that all humans have these flaws,” Moore said. “He doesn’t have the poeticism of Tennessee Williams or the political bite of Arthur Miller…but there’s a gentleness to his writing.”

Moore discovered that customizing the play, which is originally intended for a proscenium style stage, a stage where the audience is only on one side, to the round, arena style stage of the theatre was quite a challenge.

“I like working in the arena very much, but for this play it’s just difficult because it’s supposed to be a working diner,” Moore said. “We dealt with the practical needs of the play… which I think we’ve handled successfully.”

The play will have five student actors of all grade levels in it, several of whom will make their MMNT debut with this production.

“I love the students at St. Ed’s. They’re all very hardworking and… I’ve got freshman and… a fifth year senior in it [the play],” Moore said.

Three professional actors including Sarah Gay, David Jones and David Stahl will also be in the production.