Theater program ends year at the ‘Bus Stop’

Jack Kopanski

Kent State’s theatre department continued its production of “Bus Stop,” on Tuesday night at Wright-Curtis Theatre in the Performing Arts Center. On the heels of the musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” this is Kent State’s last production of the year.

“Bus Stop” tells the story of eight people stuck in a small-town diner after a blizzard forces five of the people to stay the night when their bus can’t continue. Set in Kansas during the 1950s, the play features characters from all over the country.

Fabio Polanco, the director of the play, said he was looking forward to the challenge of the show being set in Wright-Curtis Theatre because of its round design.

“Everything has to be consumable from 360 degrees,” Polanco said. “ It’s a very different experience for the audience. There is a lot more natural interaction between cast members.”

The show featured a real, wood-burning stove and a working oven that cooked food that cast members ate during the production on stage.

To help illustrate to the setting, four screens hung to form a square. Before the play started, snow was shown whipping through a night sky with whistling wind in the background. Once in the diner, the screen showed signs and memorabilia from the time hanging on the diner’s walls.

“Bus Stop,” considered a realistic drama, attempted to add to its realism by the way the characters dressed, spoke, interacted and even how the diner was set up.

One student in particular was impressed by the lengths taken to make the setting as realistic as possible.

“I like the elements,” said Nate Harvey, a sophomore public relations major, after the play. “It was really hot in there because of that wood burner, and there were actually cooking food, so that was really cool. I really liked it.”

Not all students shared a fondness for the theme of this production, though.

“I had really high expectations going in,” said Mustafa Sammor, a sophomore visual communication design major. “I was a little disappointed in the overall theme. I really didn’t get an attachment like most play’s do, but I thought it had a good closure to it. Everything wrapped up really well in the end.”

“Bus Stop” continues showing at Wright Curtis theatre through May 1.  

Tickets can be bought at Performing Arts Center box office or by calling (330) 672-2787.

Jack Kopanski is the performing arts reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].