Parkside Theatre, Mil. Chamber Theatre “Bus Stop”
Parkside Theatre, in collaboration with the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, presents "Bus Stop" April 12-29. Written by William Inge, directed by UW-Parkside faculty member Lisa Kornetsky, and featuring university and professional actors, the play is presented at the Broadway Theatre Center, 158 N. Broadway, in Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward.
In the middle of a howling blizzard, four passengers become stranded overnight in a diner somewhere west of Kansas City. The center of the storm is Bo, a rambunctious young rodeo rider who crashes in like a headstrong bull with Cherie, a nightclub chanteuse he has kidnapped and plans to wed--whether she likes it or not.
Kornetsky has found the experience of working with professional actors different and exciting.
"I have a way of working with the student actors that allows me a lot of flexibility. With professional actors, the process has been much more specific. With props, for instance, we've needed to make all those choices very clearly up front. That's the way they're used to working," said Kornetsky. "So, there are lots of differences, and that's been really exciting. It's also been, I have to say, really intense."
The production's assistant director, student Alecia Annacchino, said her work on "Bus Stop" has given her a new look at the theater profession.
"I haven't done a lot of directing, only in class, but this a really nice way for me to see the other side of the audition table and the other side of the rehearsal table. It's a good way of getting into the professional world," said Annacchino.
The complete interview with Kornetsky and Annacchino is available on the UW-Parkside web site.
Working on a set designed by UW-Parkside's Keith Harris, the cast includes Theatre Arts Professor Jamie Cheatham as the lecherous philosophy professor Dr. Gerald Lyman, Annie Walaszek as nightclub singer Cherie, Ethan Hall as the untamed Bo Decker, and Brenna Kempf as the naïve waitress Elma Duckworth.
For Walaszek, the challenge of the "Bus Stop" script is finding humanity in the characters.
"We have moments of human connection," Walaszek said. "Cherie is a survivor. She's not used to having roots any place. She's used to just picking up and going when she needs to. With Bo, they have the night together?and then the next morning he loses it and wants to marry her. But we have that moment of connection."
Although Hall understands his character is bullheaded and that kidnapping Cherie is reprehensible he wants Bo to be something other than an ogre to the audience. "You have to think about a way to make the audience like you--even if they hate you. And so that's what I've been working on, trying to make this really impulsive, sort of self-centered person who's never been told 'no' before, I'm working on finding a way to make him not seem like a monster," Hall stated.
For Kempf's character, Elma Duckworth, the events of "Bus Stop" are a window to a world she has yet to experience.
"The thing that I've been finding with her is that she just loves to hear the different stories of different people," Kempf said. "She knows there's so much to the world, she can't quite get there yet because she's so young, but she's just going to take as much as she can from everyone."
The complete interview with Walaszek, Hall, and Kempf is available on the UW-Parkside web site.
The UW-Parkside "Bus Stop" crew also features lighting designer Skelly Warren and costume desinger Misti Bradford. Student designers are Abbie Miller, props; Kara Foster, makeup/hair, and recent UW-Parkside graduate Phil Wooding, sound. Along with Annacchino, Bobby Johnson also serves as an assistant director while the assistant stage managers are Tiffany Lutz and Madelyn Wakley.
"Our professional collaboration with Chamber Theatre is a big deal," said Jamie Cheatham. "It will showcase the talents of this department, and this university, in a downtown Milwaukee venue. It will also give those students involved a solid professional credit on their resumes!""Bus Stop" is presented for 16 performances including evening and afternoon matinees. For dates, show times, and tickets, visit www.milwaukeechambertheatre.com or call 414-291-7800.