Theatreworks audiences asked to board bus bound for death

Feb. 25, 2013

Alexander Nedd
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“Thou must take a long journey. Therefore thy book of accounts with thee bring, for turn again thou canst not by any way.”

Everyone is on a journey. Just who is with us during the darkest hour, though? That question sets the premise for “Everyman on the Bus,” Theatreworks’ newest production, which opened Feb. 21 and runs through March 17.

Audiences, instead of attending the Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theater, will board a bus to take a ride with God, Death and Everyman.

Brought from medieval times, the contemporary play offers modern flair but keeps its old English dialect.

The production involves the audience from the beginning. Starting at The Mining Exchange: A Wyndham Grand Hotel, patrons will receive their tickets and wait for the stage to arrive. The play is set on an actual bus, and audiences take part in a journey as they witness the wrath of Death.

Everyman, the main character, is played by several actors – each with the common goal to enlist the help of allies as they travel to their ultimate fate. From family to friends, riches to poor, characters travel across the land to get help during the journey.

The bus drives around town to set locations, picking up actors who guide the story along. One scene is a stop at the local McDonald’s, where Everyman’s friends meet to discuss his plans and if they will follow them.

Each contemporary bus stop marks a poignant part of the play, including the hotel, a hospital and a cemetery at the end.

The play is under the direction of Murray Ross, artistic director of Theatreworks.

“It takes quite a while,” said Ross in reference to putting together a play of this nature. “Everybody we asked said yes, which was really cool,” he said, describing the community when he took the play to settings downtown.

Despite unfavorable weather and road conditions during the production’s dress rehearsal, the show “drove” on.

Each actor delivers emotional dialect, and the cast features the faces of many here on campus, both students and instructors.

The bus departs from The Mining Exchange at 8 S. Nevada St. Tickets are sold out for most shows, but returned tickets are available for purchase 10 minutes before the show starts.

“If you’re around downtown around six or eight and really want to see the play, we suggest coming in; there is usually an empty seat or two and that’s usually free,” Ross said.

The play lasts just under an hour and a half and sticks to a tight schedule, so don’t be late.