Friday, October 28, 2011

Following "The Bus"

Ensconced in Theater C at 59E59 Theaters is The Bus, a modest production about two gay teenagers (Jordan and Ian) growing up in rural America. James Lantz's The Bus first caught my attention by its humorous audience warning. As I read more about the production on, I began to root for it because it seemed grassroots and intent on bringing a voice to an experience we don't hear about everyday. Isn't that what the theater is all about?

Overall, I liked this play with its simple set - planks of wood representing the titled bus - and its Our Town like narrator (a wonderful Julia Lawler). I really felt the small town experience and the influence of big church as Ian's father - a gas station owner - tries to get the church's bus (used by the two boys for secret rendezvous) off his property. The greatest issue I had with the play was the character of Ian (played by Will Roland, but reminiscent of a young Dave Foley). He just wasn't very likable, almost annoying, at times. Frankly, I wondered what Jordan (played by Brian Fitzgerald) even sees in him.

While I would have preferred a more nuanced Ian, I am still rooting for this production. The Bus plays through the end of the month at 59E59 and then heads to Kansas. Now, that's something to say "cheese and crackers" about.

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