Director/actor Staci Robbins was introduced to the work of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright William Inge during her teen years. “What I love about Inge’s work is that he writes women so well,” says Robbins, an award-winning director who played the role of Cherie, an aspiring nightclub singer, in a Washington, D.C. production of Inge’s 1955 play “Bus Stop” when she was 17 years old.
Robbins leads eight actors in a new production of “Bus Stop” that opens at the Adobe Rose Theatre on January 19. The play is set in a diner in rural Kansas and focuses on the personal journeys of five bus passengers and three people in the diner who are forced to spend hours cooped up with each other when the bus is stranded during a snowstorm.
The storm outside is “a metaphor,” says Robbins, for what happens inside the diner. In this slice-of-life storyline, “each character is trying to figure what he/she wants and needs,” she adds. Friendships are formed, and romances are kindled.
The female characters in “Bus Stop” are strong women who go through changes during their time in the diner, says Robbins. “I feel I’ve grown through directing the production,” she observes. “There are things I didn’t get when I was acting in it as a teen. Now I can see multiple layers of meaning in the play.”
“Bus Stop” stars Todd Anderson as Carl, Melissa Chambers as Grace, Jessica Haring as Cherie, Kent Kirkpatrick as Dr. Lyman, Ruben Muller as Will, Tyler Nunez as Bo, Marika Sayers as Elma and John Warner Widell as Virgil.