SARA COURTEMACHE AS ELMA AND SUSAN KULP AS GRACE
Grace’s Diner is a port in a storm, in this case a blizzard that closed highways and stranded a bus load of passengers. Seeking warmth and a hot cup of java, each traveler enters the homey establishment with a personal agenda to fulfill. Playwright William Inge offers a myriad of messages about life, learning and love in his involving comedy/drama “Bus Stop” being staged weekends until March 12 by the New Haven Theater Company at The English Building Markets, 839 Chapel Street, New Haven.
Susan Kulp is Grace, capable, understanding and hard working, a woman who has witnessed a lot and now is content to have a little loving companionship when the opportunity arises. When Carl (Erich Greene) pulls in with his cadre of characters, he indicates his willingness to put his boots under her bed.
Sara Courtemache’s Elma is Grace’s helper at the diner, a young, wide-eyed girl on the cusp of womanhood, one who loves literature and culture and is eager to experience the world. She gravitates immediately to the smooth talking Dr. Gerald Lyman, a persuasive J. Kevin Smith, who likes a little chaser with his soda and has a less than honorable scheme with the naive Elma in mind.
Also on the bus is a night club singer, a chanteuse if you please, a captivating Megan Keith Chenot as Cherie, who explains to the accommodating sheriff, a law abiding Peter Chenot, that she has been kidnapped, abducted against her will and forced to ride across state lines. Her offender is the lanky and sincere cowboy Bo Decker, an aggressively eager Trevor Williams, who is clearly besotted by Cherie and has only honorable intentions: to marry her and live a long and happy life on his Montana ranch.
Bo’s guitar playing sidekick is an older man Virgil (John Watson) who serves as his guardian and voice of reason. With the phone lines down and the roads impassable, the occupants of Grace’s Diner perform a sensual dance of restless souls trying to find peace and joy and affection. George Kulp does a fine job directing this troupe of talented community players, on a detailed set he designed to generate memories of a Woolworth’s luncheonette.
For tickets ($20), go online to www.newhaventheatercompany.com or purchase them at the door. You can even shop for a chafing dish, candles, vintage clothing or china as you go through the consignment store on the way to the theater entrance. Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.
Hop on and off this well-driven transport that will have you rooting for a successful journey for all the travelers of life on board.