Bus Stops arrives
at the Centaur
French language hit translates well into English
By Byron Toben
The French language hit Ligne de bus, skilfully translated into English by Nadine Desrochers is now exhibiting its world English premiere at the Centaur. Now entitled Bus Stops, this creation of Marilyn Perreault and her Théâtre I.N.K. productions rocked audiences at Theatre Aux Écuries in 2014.
Despite the similarity of title, this show has nothing in common with William Inge’s 1955 stage play Bus Stop, nor the 1956 film introducing Marilyn Monroe. Rather, it shares attributes with the Centaur’s 2013 import The Number 14.
Both feature cut away busses on stage. Both feature six acrobatic actors who hang on poles and luggage racks as they flip and flop about. But Number 14 was a charming display on wheels, whereas Bus Stops, while it has many a comedic moment, is a much darker show, wherein, as one audience member noted, it ends, like Hamlet, with everyone dead on stage.
… Bus Stops, while it has many a comedic moment, is a much darker show, wherein, as one audience member noted, it ends, like Hamlet, with everyone dead on stage.
I felt that Pirandello, not Shakespeare, was more apt. Call them both Six Characters In Search Of An Autobus.
Anyway, instead of Horatio narrating at the end, you’ve got the voice of an off stage coroner (Ms. Perreault herself) at the beginning, interviewing the ghosts of the six to ascertain how and why an explosion occurred.
The actors, all save one, were the French actors in the original, appearing en anglais on stage for the first time, all acquitting themselves exceedingly well. Daniella (Nora Guerch) is the love interest of two students, Jimmy (Victor Andres Trelles Turgeon ) in law and Tommy (Alexandre Lavigne) in chemical engineering.
Rachel, a waitress (Annie Ranger) hungers for regular customer Henri (Hugues Sarra-Bournet), a driver on, you guessed it, a bus. Sandy, a teen age school girl is played by
Lots of video projected on the sides of the bus and special effects keep the vehicle bumping along as the characters display feelings of alienation as “the other”, love at first sight vs. “love’em and leave’em”, random acts of violence, etc. etc. etc.
Lots of video projected on the sides of the bus and special effects keep the vehicle bumping along…
I especially enjoyed the scene where Jimmy and Daniella kept being entangled in each others shirt or jacket while trying to help each other put them on. The bar has been raised for actors to get a gig nowadays. Difficult enough to merely act, sing and dance, now circus skills are also becoming de rigueur.
Bus Stops continues at the Centaur until March 27.
Tickets: 514 288-3161 or Centaur Theatre
Images : Andrée Lanthier
Byron Toben is the immediate past-president of the Montreal Press Club.