If there is one thing that The Bus brings across, it is that theatre audiences have lost the ability to really listen. It is a charming play in which words paint the bigger picture without overblown special effects or spectacular contextual overload.
Its strength lies in its simplicity; add to this the passionate dedication and commitment of its cast, under the imaginative direction of Wayne Hendricks, and The Bus allows for a pleasant evening of serene storytelling.
From the opening words: "I can show you ... " it is clear that the provocative nature of The Bus is not found in graphic exploitation, but in the unravelling of secrets - exposing what's real and revealing the true nature of the characters.
The sexual awakening of two teenage boys
Dealing with the sexual awakening of two teenage boys who feel "stained" and fear "not knowing who stares", and are haunted by the fact that everyone knows and that "all the knowing is the worst", playwright James Lantz offers an insightful journey into a thought-provoking story that is relevant in an age in which we are blinded and desensitised by the overload of information.
In The Bus we meet an intriguing antagonist, the bus itself, cleverly allowing the characters to confront their fears and anxieties, and setting them on a path of transfiguration.
Although it might just seem like an ordinary bus, there is much more to it than meets the eye. It represents a prison of non-conformity, just as the church represents a prison of conformity; it is here where the boys secretly meet and share their love. The Bus also becomes a confession booth where true feelings are expressed and, ultimately, becomes a pit of hell and torment that changes the destinies of all the characters in the play.
The Bus also represents a journey from innocence to awakening; it's about the exchange of views, life and beliefs. The play awakens a realisation that although there are some rules that cannot change, misguided misunderstanding and dim-witted ignorance can ultimately lead to acceptance and tolerance. It questions whether or not we can accept what we ignore and if it is indeed possible to ignore what we refuse to accept.
It crackles with humour
The play perceptively exposes the malice of mendacity, constrained morality and uninformed mentality of people who are imprisoned by the fear of their own insecurities.
Although it is a human drama that exposes the tragic face of ignorance, it crackles with humour and wonderful sub-textual inflictions.
Darin Graham and Timothy Mayers shine in their roles as the young lovers, well supported by Robyn Bensch as the little girl and narrator, and Johann van der Merwe and Coleen Tapson as the parents, with Barry Altwig as Sloat.
The Bus is an ideal and rare opportunity to experience a unique play that is only on for one week at the Milnerton Playhouse, so make sure to see it.
It is showing on 26, 27 and 28 July at 8pm, with a matinee at 2pm on 28 July. On 26 July there is a special of two tickets for the price of one for pre booked and prepaid tickets. Bookings at www.milnertonplayers.com , email or call +27 (0)82 267 1061.
Behind the scenes
"In our hearts, all of us hope that we're moving ahead," said playwright James Lantz, who resides in Vermont, in America. "Getting smarter, growing taller, every day becoming a little better. Our lives are like a river; movement is life - like the boys in The Bus we find ourselves living in somebody else's idea of what and who we should be."
Daniel Dercksen has been a film and theatre journalist in South Africa the past 30 years and as a trainer and educator has presented regular workshops in scriptwriting and creative writing during the past 17 years.
I found it most odd that this crit starts off with the following words, "If there is one thing that The Bus brings across, it is that theatre audiences have lost the ability to really listen". Then the writer doesn't go on to qualify that statement. Also, only two very small paragraphs are dedicated to the actors, and the rest of the crit to the play, and the playwrite. Surely it should be more equal, or the other way around?? Posted on 24 Jul 2012 09:12
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