Bus strike won’t hinder play’s momentum

Tara Bradbury
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While the Metrobus strike has left many people without a ride to work, it’s also left a local theatre production without a stage.

“Momentum: A Play That Travels by Bus” was set to be performed — on a bus — starting Nov. 25, but after the strike began earlier this month, the production team was forced to become a bit more creative when it comes to the set.

The bus will now be recreated on stage at Memorial University’s Reid Theatre, and audience members will sit “on board” to watch the show.

“The scenes happen around you, and the actors mix in with the audience,” explained assistant director Janine Quinton.

“Momentum” is a new play by St. John’s playwright Robert Chafe, who was named winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama Tuesday, for his play “AfterImage,” adapted from a short story by Michael Crummey. 

“Momentum” is a story caught between reality and a man’s trials and tribulations with himself and his family.

The play features contributions from Joel Thomas Hynes, Edward Riche, Anne Chislett and Agnes Walsh.

“The play revolves around the main character, Jerry.

“The cast gets on and off the bus as he tries to weave the past and the more recent past together,” said Nick White, part of the production team.

“The play has a surreal component to it. Everything is based on the concept of it’s real, but it isn’t — you’re not sure what’s real and what’s imaginary.”

Chafe said he wrote the play to be performed on a bus, with the audience becoming passengers and travelling St. John’s along with the cast, becoming a part of the show as well as observing.

Only 35 audience seats are

available each night, like on a Met-robus.

Though not perfect, it will work in a recreated bus on stage, Chafe said.

“The move into the theatre was something that myself and Brad (Hodder, director) decided,” Chafe told The Telegram.

“We thought about using a school bus and other forms of buses, and it ultimately didn’t work — we were just constantly reminded we were on a school bus.

“While (the stage) is not the best location for the play, it’s the best alternative, and I’m really excited about it.”

There are some positives to the situation, White said, including more opportunities for sound, space, and visuals.

A large video screen will be used to give the feeling of movement.

The play is being produced by Terminal Productions — a university student company formed by students of English 4401: Producing the Play, instructed by Hodder and Nicole Rousseau — in connection with c2c Theatre and Resource Centre for the Arts Theatre.

“Momentum” will run Nov 25-27 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tickets are $12 and are available at the LSPU Hall box office.


Organizations: Reid Theatre, The Telegram, Terminal Productions Resource Centre Arts Theatre

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