AURORA -- A snowstorm strands four passengers and their bus driver at a roadside cafe for several hours.
Their interactions with each other, the local sheriff, cafe owner and waitress -- which run the gamut from new friendships to exasperation to sparks of love -- is what drives the charming play "Bus Stop," which runs for two more nights -- Feb. 17 and 18 -- at Aurora Community Theatre.
The play, by William Inge, opened Jan. 27. Tari Lyn Bergoine plays Grace Hoyland, the somewhat but not entirely world-weary and jaded owner of a cafe that rests along a bus route. She and her innocent teenaged waitress Elma Duckworth (Ren Harris) find themselves with several bus passengers taking refuge at the diner after the roads become impassible.
The bus passengers include Bo Decker (Justin Edenhofer), the young and hot-headed owner of a Montana ranch who has dragged a reluctant Cherie (Catie Hewitt) along with him.
Cherie is a nightclub singer Bo has fallen head over heels for, and the cowboy has plans to marry her as soon as they get back to Montana. Never mind the fact that Cherie wants nothing more than to escape and go back home.
Bo is joined by his older mentor -- Virgil Blessing (Scott Stachiw) -- who tries to appeal to Bo's better nature. The fourth passenger -- Dr. Gerald Lyman (Tom Stephan) -- is a drifting former professor who has fallen rather deep into the bottle.
Bus driver Carl (Vincent Sarowatz) is worried about the roads and his bus, but is not entirely sorry for the delay and an excuse for Grace's company.
Rounding out the cast is Jerry Schaber as Sheriff Will Masters, an upright, moral man who finds himself interceding at times to keep everyone safe.
To pass the time, they all get to know each other better, and they -- along with the audience -- realize that often, first impressions can be misleading, and redemption is not impossible, even for the most troubled soul.
This play can be seen as a series of various love stories which have vastly different endings, with some ending up better than others. All of the roles are perfectly cast, and kudos for the fantastic set designed by Micah Harvey.
Local residents can either go online at www.auroracommmunitytheatre.com or call the box office at 330-562-1818 to check whether tickets are still available for the final performances. The theater is in the Aurora Memorial Library building.
ACT will stage the musical "Brigadoon" April 28 to May 20. A benefit show -- David Ives's "One Acts" -- will be performed March 3-11.
Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4171