Theater Department to present 'Bus Stop' Oct. 16-21

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October 11, 2018


(L to R) Liam Conzemius (portraying Bo Decker), Laura Mitch (Elma Duckworth) and Joseph Mathias (Virgil Blessing) at a table in the diner.
Photo credit: Sean Dooley

If you live in Minnesota long enough, sooner or later you are likely to get stranded during a blizzard in an unlikely location meeting new people.

That’s the premise of “Bus Stop,” a drama by William Inge to be presented Oct. 16-21 by the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University Theater Department. Show times are at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 16-20, and 2 p.m. Oct. 20-21 at the Colman Black Box Theater, Benedicta Arts Center, CSB.

The play is set just outside Kansas City at a small roadside diner. A howling snowstorm has closed all roads, and a bus pulls up to unload some weary passengers, who must take refuge in the diner until morning, when the roads clear.

Among the passengers we meet are:

  • Cherie (played by CSB senior Lucie Dornbach), a nightclub singer who is being pursued by Bo Decker (SJU first-year Liam Conzemius), a brash young cowboy who has convinced himself that Cherie will be his bride;
  • Carl (SJU first-year Kevin Downes), the bus driver who has a “just passing through” relationship with Grace (CSB sophomore Katie Wagner), the owner of the diner;
  • Dr. Gerald Lyman (SJU sophomore Jack Pieper), a college professor who comes to terms with himself;
  • Elma Duckworth (CSB first-year Laura Mitch), a young waitress at the café who gets her first taste of romance;
  • And, we also meet Virgil Blessing (SJU first-year Joseph Mathias) and Will Masters (SJU senior Cristian Zamora).

Romantic or quasi-romantic relationships ensue between Grace and Carl, Cherie and Bo and Professor Lyman and Elma.

“Bus Stop” is directed by Sean Dooley, assistant professor of theater at CSB and SJU.

“The play was chosen because it presents an excellent opportunity for our student actors, designers and crew to work on a seminal piece of mid-20th century realism,” Dooley said. “Each of the characters are complicated, flawed, three-dimensional human beings searching for love in all its manifestations.”

The 100-minute play includes a 15-minute intermission.

The play was originally staged on Broadway, running for 478 performances between March 1955 and April 1956. It was nominated for four Tony Awards. The 1956 film of the same name is only loosely based on the play, and starred Marilyn Monroe playing Cherie.

Tickets for the play are $10 for adults, $5 for CSB/SJU students and $7 for students, faculty and staff and seniors.

For tickets, call the Benedicta Arts Center Box Office at 320-363-5777 or order online.