The Road Theatre Company at 10747 W. Magnolia Blvd. in North Hollywood, has an exquisite habit of choosing plays that demand our attention as an audience. Plays that make us think, feel and, above all, open our eyes and take a long hard look at our lives, our choices and who we really are.
"White Guy on the Bus" is a play that fits perfectly into this ethos. It's a complex and intriguing glimpse into the lives of two people from entirely different worlds. As their perspectives collide we are drawn into their unusual and compelling relationship, unable to escape the inevitability of their fate. Like watching an accident happening, with no means to stop it.
Crash Buist and Teagan Rose star in the ROAD THEATRE COMPANY Los Angeles Premiere production of 'WHITE GUY ON THE BUS," by Bruce Graham and directed by Stewart J. Zully and now playing at the ROAD THEATRE on Magnolia.
Ray and Shatique couldn't live more different lives. Ray, white and middle-aged, is a successful financial manager and seems content with his life. Shatique is a struggling student nurse, determined to escape her difficulties and provide a better life for her son. Together they ride a bus, once a week to the local prison. As the play progresses we jump around in time, back and forth from one defining moment to another until the timelines all shockingly come together and we are suddenly in a place we were totally unprepared for. Ray's and Shatique's world where revenge and moral ambiguity meet race and class and desperation.
What makes this play work, apart from how perfectly timed the subject matter is in our radically shifting and protest-filled world, is the stunning differences in frame of reference these brilliant actors create on stage. Shatique remains tense and chill, even when chatting innocently with Ray as their relationship begins. She always seems to have one eye on the door, ready to protect what's hers. Ray’s world is quite the opposite. He and his family are blessed with plenty, no need to worry or to hide. But these two worlds are inexorably linked. Doomed by the kind of association we always seem surprised by, although that might tell us more about ourselves than we would like to admit.
This is the kind of play that one can praise in a review but not discuss in too much detail for fear of spoiling it for any future audience. Suffice it to say that you won't be disappointed, not in the story, the direction and certainly not in the stellar performances. But then when is one ever disappointed with any play at The Road?
The writer, Bruce Graham, has written 14 other plays, all wildly successful and adorned with awards, so you know the writing will be spectacular. The director Stewart J. Zully, also a writer and an actor, is a part of The Road family and deftly handles this complex and unsettling story, without over complication and with some wonderfully fluid touches that really add to the momentum of the play.
All the actors were outstanding of course, and all perfectly cast in their roles. I found it all so totally believable, far beyond the style of the play and the horror of the story. It’s very hard to really reflect life, especially when it always seems to be stranger and more tragic than fiction. "White Guy on The Bus" is a play that tells a story we might not be prepared to hear, but one that is so very important to experience.
I very highly recommend "White Guy on the Bus" at The Road on Magnolia.
10747 W Magnolia Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
January 27 - March 18
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm & Sundays at 2 pm
Kevin McCorkle, Amy E. Stoch, Kacie Rogers, Crash Buist & Teagan Rose.
Sarah B.Brown, Derrick McDaniel, David B. Marling, Michele Young, John Merchant, Carlyle King, Michelle Gillette