‘Bus Stop’ speaks to our shared experience
IF YOU GO ...
What: Hudson Reed Ensemble’s “Bus Stop”
When: 7:30 p.m., April 8 through 10
Where: Black Box Theatre, Aspen
Tickets: $25 for adults, $15 for students
“Bus Stop” takes place in a 1950s Kansas, but really, it takes place anywhere.
The Hudson Reed Ensemble just opened its production of the William Inge classic, continuing April 8-10 at the Black Box Theatre in Aspen. The entire play takes place inside a diner outside Kansas City, but replace the diner with the terminal at DIA or a restaurant in downtown Aspen, and any Aspen audience member can recognize the characters.
“I think anyone can relate to one, young love and that kind of purity that’s associated with it,” said Kent Reed, director of the Hudson Reed Ensemble, who also plays Virgil. “And not only young love, but Grace (the diner owner) looking for some kind of comfort in the world, Lyman (a philosopher and a drunk who gets stuck at the bus stop) being a lost person. The attributes these characters contribute I think anybody can relate to.
“And even Virgil — the sacrifice Virgil makes from having to move on from a guy (Bo) he basically raised as his son. He realizes he has to move on; Bo has to move on. That kind of strength and integrity is appealing.”
The play does provide a window into another era, one that Reed worries we’ve gotten too far away from.
“It speaks to an innocence of a time that is way gone now,” he said. “The civility and the respect and kind of the societal mores have just gone a completely different place. … In a larger sense, I’m worried about our country. I’m worried about our society at large. It is so privileged and entitled, and to reflect on what makes us human … it’s just important to me personally as well as a guy that’s running a theater company, and I think it’s important to remember these values and maybe get people to thinking about it a little bit.”
Founded in 2005, the Hudson Reed Ensemble produces several performances every year, including the summertime Shakespeare in the Park series. While praising the hard work and the camaraderie of “Bus Stop”’s cast, many of whom are experienced Roaring Fork Valley performers, Reed noted that the company’s most recent plays have proven what a joy it is to have young people participate.
“We don’t do that too often in our production because our plays that we’ve done in the past haven’t required young people,” Reed said. “But I learned from “Turn of the Screw” (last fall’s play) what an absolute joy it is to have younger folks around, and that was relearned in this play.
“To have these girls (Izzi Rojo as Elma and Emily Henley as Cherie), to have their energy, to have Bryan Edelmann (Bo) in there and their talent and their optimism, just all of that is a joy to be around.”
That’s got Reed particularly excited about this summer’s Shakespeare in the Park production of “As You Like It,” which he notes revolves around young adults.
“Without any exception the worst snow storm known since the advent of the railroad west of Leadville has been raging over the crest of the continental divide since last Thursday,” asserted the Aspen Tribune on January 31, 1899.