Not Your Grandma’s Bus Stop
Salinas, CA — May 10, 2007
Remember the 1956 film version of William Inge’s “Bus Stop” starring Marilyn Monroe as Cherie, the less-than-talented nightclub singer, and Don Murray as Bo, the rowdy cowboy who kidnaps her with the intention of making the aspiring starlet his wife?
those memories from your mind. The Western Stage is presenting the authentic,
non-Hollywood version of William Inge’s enduring
comedy about a rag-tag band of misfits who get stranded at a roadside diner
during a snowstorm beginning June 1 in the intimate Studio Theater at
With all due respect to screenwriter George Axelrod, the often over-the-top film version of Bus Stop bears little resemblance to Inge’s subtle story about the many faces of love and the struggles people face to make an intimate connection with one another. Whereas Axelrod focused the lens of the film directly on the farcical relationship between Bo and Cherie, Inge painted a more thoughtful mural on the stage featuring an ensemble of characters whose troubled relationships created a montage of romantic dilemmas.
character left out of the film is Dr. Lyman, the lecherous college professor
with a preference for youthful girls just on the threshold of adulthood. His
absence makes sense when you’re trying to make a silly light comedy with a
“One of the interesting things is that Lyman has the most cogent things to say in the play,” says longtime TWS actor Jeff Heyer, who will be performing the role of Dr. Lyman in the upcoming production. “Although far from anybody’s idea of a role model, he states some of the most basic things about love and the need to let down your defenses.” Ironically, despite his insights about love, Lyman is the least successful in his pursuit.
Heyer, however, is quick to point out that Lyman is nothing like Humbert Humbert in “Lolita”. He’s not wooing thirteen year olds. He’s romancing the college girls he supposed to be teaching, and the young waitress at the bus stop diner in which they are stranded. What his character truly represents is a sexual desire that is considered aberrant by mainstream society. He is an older man who pursues girls considerably younger than him.
interest in exploring this particular face of love makes sense especially when
considering the playwright’s own life. In many ways Lyman’s character resembles
Inge himself. Like Lyman, Inge
battled alcoholism. He worked as a college professor at a small liberal arts
college in the
For most of
his life, Inge struggled with his own homosexuality.
Growing up in the
all accounts, lived a life as lonely and isolated as many of the characters he
wrote about in plays like “Bus Stop” and “Come Back Little Sheba”. His final
years were spent living with his sister in his
“Bus Stop” plays at The Western Stage June 1 – 24 in the studio theatre, Hartnell College Performing Arts Building. Show times are Friday and Saturday at and Sunday at Season tickets are still the best deal, saving patrons upwards of 42% off the single ticket price. Subscriptions and single tickets can be purchased online at westernstage.com or through the box office by calling (831) 375-2111.