Kennesaw State presents "Bus Stop"
Play focuses on love and redemption in a Midwest diner
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KENNESAW, Ga. (March 21, 2013) —As springtime blooms at Kennesaw State University, the College of the Arts is preparing for a snowstorm with its production of “Bus Stop,” written by William Inge. Presented by the Department of Theatre & Performance Studies, the show is directed by Associate Professor Harrison Long and will run in the Stillwell Theater from April 2-7, at 8 p.m. Tues-Sat, with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m.
Set in Kansas in 1953, “Bus Stop,” tells the story of eight characters – four travelers, a bus driver, two waitresses and a sheriff – who find themselves seeking shelter from a snowstorm in a diner outside Kansas City. As characters complement, oppose or ignore one another, each reveals his or her ideology and quirks, with apparent room for improvement. “These people are on the continuum of redemption,” says Long.
The characters’ journeys toward or away from redemption are marked by their quest for love. Characters pair into romances of every kind, and Long says, “the lesson is that in order to achieve true love, it takes a lot of courage and you must lose yourself to find yourself.” The friendships and relationships that unfold in “Bus Stop” offer opportunity for self-discovery when the snowstorm clears.
The staging of “Bus Stop” is part of a co-curricular Actor's Studio sequence in which students engage with the script through both theoretic inquiry and active practice. Actor's Studio embodies the TPS mission to cultivate students as scholar-artists who pursue a blend of careful analysis and thoughtful creativity. Through Actor's Studio, the students acting in “Bus Stop” have been studying their roles for seven months both in classes and rehearsals.
In three acting courses, TPS scholar-artists explored the characters and relationships of “Bus Stop” via the Stanislavsky system. In spring 2012, students learned about the Stanislavsky system of acting, which trains actors to reveal realistic emotion in their character portrayals. In May 2012, the actors were cast and enrolled in a second Stanislavsky-based course in fall 2012.
In the fall 2012 course, students explored the characters and relationships of “Bus Stop” via the Stanislavsky system. “It's the most experimental course I've ever taught,” says Long, who watched the actors take ownership of their roles through careful analysis. Long co-taught the course with Allan Edwards, a KSU theatre instructor and one of Atlanta’s most accomplished actors. Edwards is also a member of the “Bus Stop” cast, playing Dr. Lyman, one of the travelers stranded at the diner. Now, in spring 2013, the student actors are preparing to stage “Bus Stop” and also continuing to study the script in yet another Actor's Studio course, taught by Jan Wikstrom.
As head of the TPS acting concentration, Long says Actor's Studio provides a pedagogical link to connect actors to the production, and adds that he hopes to see future productions grow through Actor's Studio as well. In “Bus Stop,” the actors' investigative efforts are apparent in their on-stage portrayals of humanity, love, relationships and redemption.
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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering more than 90 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including doctorates in education, business and nursing, and a Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the 35-unit University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing population of 24,100 students from more than 130 countries.