The Bus rolled into Castleton, dropped off a phenomenal cast at the Casella Theater, and left audience members caught up in its highly emotional story.Castleton State College’s Department if Theater Arts presented over the weekend William Inge’s classic comedy “Bus Stop.”
The performance, directed by Susan Baker, was a project that began at the end of last semester and was completed this month. The cast was given their scripts in May in order to learn their parts, but the fantastic sets and beautiful costumes were left until this past month to do. Despite the short preparation time, nothing was sacrificed. From a stand-out group of student actors, excellently cast by Baker, to the detailed 1950’s style sets created
by the CSC’s Stagecraft class, there was justification behind the standing ovation the performance received at Saturday night’s show.
Bus Stop sends its audience through the ringer with emotion as it tells the tale of a na’ve but stubborn cowboy bound and determined to steal away back to his ranch in Montana with his “love,” Cherie (played by junior Candis Machia), to marry and live happily ever after.
One problem: Cherie, a chanteuse from Kansas City, doesn’t love Cowboy Bo (played by senior Andrew McDuff). After the bus that the two were on gets stuck at a small town restaurant about 30 miles west of Kansas City due to a snow storm, both young waitress, Elma (senior, Jessica Krol) and restaurant owner, Grace (senior Becky Laird) find themselves surrounded by the dilemma between Bo and Cherie.
Toss in the bus driver, Carl (junior, Patrick Shortle), a drunken professor, Dr. Lyman (senior, Nathaniel Buchman), the small town sheriff Will Masters (junior, Joseph Laston) and Bo’s best friend and ranch hand, Virgil Blessing (senior, Adam Desautels) and the small, but powerful cast is complete.
A classic introduction to characters and scene is interrupted by McDuff’s strong presence on the stage as Bo – a presence that, hands-down, stole the show.
“It was unlike any other role that I had taken on before,” said McDuff. “There were so many different layers and different conflicting emotions all rolled into him.”
McDuff, a member of the National Honorary Theater Fraternity, found each layer of his character and portrayed them flawlessly leaving audience members doubled over in laughter and feeling for his innocence and naivety.
Bo was more than complimented by his surrounding cast, from Krol’s bubbly portrayal of young, na’ve Elma to Buchman’s staggering character drunkenly reciting Shakespeare, the cast was outstanding top to bottom.
Playing McDuff’s opposite, Machia fit the role of Cherie perfectly – a mature, experienced young woman falling ever so slowly for the man she despises in the beginning.
Not only did parents, students, and alums leave from the Parents’ Weekend show pleased, but the cast left the set feeling good about what they had done too. And rightly so.
“I was very happy with how the show went. I think that we had a great turn out for the show, much more than I initially expected, and I think it was really well received by the people that came to see it,” said Machia. “We’ve heard nothing but great things from all the people that came to see it.