William Inge’s classic American comedy-drama “Bus Stop,” a smash Broadway hit and memorable Marilyn Monroe movie, takes a Caribbean detour to UVI’s Little Theatre on the St. Thomas Campus, with productions set for Nov. 1-3 and 8 to 10.
Originally set in Kansas City in a snowstorm, this new version – “Bus Stop: With Caribbean Seasonings” – was adapted by UVI Playwright in Residence Dr. Doug Larche. It is set in Puerto Rico in a hurricane. Five characters find themselves marooned overnight with three locals at La Cantina de Grácia, between San Juan and Fajardo. The play offers love scenes, a fistfight, a talent show, an abduction and a little music – along with the hurricane.
More than a host of UVI students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends are involved in the production.
The characters hail from Puerto Rico, Dominica, Peru and West Texas. Three relationships hang in the balance: headstrong rodeo cowboy Bo (Khalarni Rivers) has kidnapped Red Iguana showgirl Cherie (Estelle Andrew); lonely cantina owner Grácia (Rita Green) finally lets bus-driver Carlos (Joshua Jno-Pierre) into her heart; and innocent “cafecito-eyed” Alma (Akela Brumant) wanders into the clutches of the old professor with the wandering eye, Dr. Limón (Dr. Doug Iannucci). El Deputado Guillermo Machado (Noel Charles) is the sheriff who watches over the cantina and the ladies therein, while old cowboy sidekick Virgil (Dr. Doug Larche) watches over Bo, while strumming his guitar. Delreese Gifft and Althia Henry are rehearsal assistants, understudies, and will perform Alma and Grácia, respectively, for the Sunday, Nov. 3, and Sunday, Nov. 10, afternoon performances.
The show is also directed by Dr. Larche, who recently returned from a year-long leave of absence at Yeungnam University in South Korea. UVI staff member Carey Galdo is associate producer. Josie Brannon and Nicole Moore are student assistant directors. Guest technical artist and former Little Theatre tech director Doug Salisbury and UVI senior Jae Knight serve as design and technical artists and consultants. Former Little Theatre director Dr. Rosary Harper is the costume designer, and UVI student Josie Brannon serves as stage manager.
Student crew heads include Shamari Skelton and Jaleel Drigo as lead carpenters, Nicole Moore for sound, Keturah Bethel for publicity, Kareme Joseph for costumes, Renée Williams for makeup and hair, and Matthew Eastman for lighting. Crew members include Amber Clarke, Avril Paul, Deeno Cumberbatch, Najuma Dunn, Sharlene Joseph, Shamira Henley and the students of the UVI Introduction to Theatre class.
The production of “Bus Stop with Caribbean Seasoning” marks the official re-opening of the UVI Little Theatre as a safe and accessible classroom and black box performing arts facility. Its entry hallway features newly restored, matted and framed historical and contemporary posters marking the Little Theatre’s remarkable career. The majority of these distinctive posters were illustrated by Josée A. Deckert. Long-time patrons will find a veritable memory lane showcasing works of their favorite directors – dominated by three decades of Harper-Parker Productions (UVI Professors Emeritus Drs. Rosary Harper and Dennis Parker). Contributors to and supporters of the restoration will be honored on opening night.
Tickets are $5 for students of all kinds and ages, and $10 for adults. They can be purchased from the Humanities Office on UVI’s St. Thomas Campus (call Administrative Assistant Mary Alexander at (340) 693-1340) or at the door. Seating is extremely limited. The Friday and Saturday evening shows begin precisely at 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday matinees begin precisely at 2 p.m. Patrons who arrive after curtain will be allowed to enter at the end of Act I, which is approximately thirty minutes into the show.