Director Speaks holds panel for production of “Bus Stop”

Jack Kopanski

Director of Kent State’s production of “Bus Stop,” Fabio Polanco, held a Director Speaks series on Thursday morning in the Black Box theatre inside the Performing Arts Center (PAC), to discuss the upcoming production on April 22 at Wright Curtis Theatre.

Set in the 1950s, “Bus Stop,” the final production for Kent State’s theatre program for the year, tells the story of a group of strangers stuck in a diner overnight during a blizzard and the connections made between them. On the heels of “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” the program’s second musical of the year, “Bus Stop” is the program’s second play of the year and will run until May 1.

“We tried to set it up where there would be two plays and two musicals,” Polanco said. “That way students get to experience different kinds of theatre.”

“Bus Stop” features only eight, albeit diverse, characters in a very small setting. It will also take place on a round stage, unlike the usual rectangular stage, like E. Turner Stump Theatre in the PAC.

Polanco said the setup of the play is meant to add an intimate setting, as there are limited places to stand on stage.

“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.”

For this show, a professor was brought in specifically to teach the students correct dialect based on where their characters came from.

Courtney Brown, an assistant professor of Voice and Acting, talked on how she went about incorporating the different types of accents into the production.

“There’s people from all over the United States, that by happenstance, ended up stranded together in this diner,” Brown said. “So what you’ll hear is some characters who are from the far west mountain region, and you will hear a very saturated cowboy dialect, that unfortunately we hear less and less of these days.”

Brown’s goal is for the audience to get a realistic idea for what America was like during the time period “Bus Stop” is set in.

“Hopefully, what you’ll hear is a snapshot of America, circa 1950s,” Brown said. “Hopefully, what you won’t hear, which is one of my main goals as a dialect coach, is to never have the audience aware that they’re hearing actor put on some dialect or voice, but that the voice and the dialect is just an integral part of who these people are as human beings.”

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]