Carl had heard lots about Grace from a friend, even chatted with her in passing when he periodically drove through her small Kansas town.
While there might have been some friendly exchanges and even a hint of flirting, nothing might ever have developed between the bus driver and the owner of the local bus stop cafe, if not for a snowstorm that forced them together for several hours one fated day in 1955.
Langley’s Pete Godard (playing Carl), and fellow Langleyite Sheila Greentree (playing Grace) have been having a blast during rehearsals, bringing these characters alive on the Langley Playhouse stage.
The curtain goes up next Thursday on Langley Players’ newest production, Bus Stop, and Godard describes the process they’ve gone through to prepare for this play as life-altering – at least for him.
Bus Stop is a theatrical rendition of the 1956 Marilyn Monroe movie of the same name, where Monroe played a delightfully naive floozy who was hotly pursued, by an equally naïve cowboy, to a snowbound bus stop and Grace’s road-side cafe in Kansas.
But the play, which is pure William Inge (the movie was written by a screenwriter), offers much more than that narrow plot, said director Helen Embury.
“There are eight wonderfully well-developed characters in the play, each with their own histories and desires, all played out in the seemingly innocent era between the Second World War and the dawning of the ’60s,” Embury said.
“Our talented team has created the costumes, the sounds, the set and the characters that will transport the audiences into this past era.”
It’s a step back to a simpler time, said Godard, who has fallen in love with the play that he said will transport the audience back to a time with no cellphones, iPods, or tablets.
It was persistent prodding by Embury that first motivated him to try out for Bus Stop. Then, admittedly, he was drawn into the play because it’s what he calls an “easy-going drama,” with a healthy seasoning of comedy.
But primarily, it’s been working with the cast and crew that has made this such a great experience for the timid actor.
“I’m loving it,” Godard said. “The people are just fantastic. I’m going to be doing more because of this.”
He first became involved in community theatre about seven years ago, when – coming out of a divorce – he was looking to build a new and active group of friends.
He had always admired the old Langley Playhouse building, and stopped in one day… he hasn’t really left since.
For the first four years, Godard only ventured on stage when building sets. But a few years back he reluctantly tried his hand at acting in Lost in Yonkers and then Victoria’s House.
Godard – who was happy to take the smallest role available in this most recent production – said working on Bus Stop has actually motivated him to do more.
“It was ideal because it was a small part,” said the 50-year-old Langley City roofer. “I don’t think I’m ready to do a major role yet… but I’m working on it.”
Always kind of a self-proclaimed “goofy guy,” Godard said he’s really enjoying this time on stage and learning from the director and others in the cast about how to develop characters.
“When I go through a drive thru, I’m always a different person,” he said.
Godard expects to force his two teenage sons to attend at least one showing of Bus Stop, and also anticipates his mother, sister and brother to attend, as well.
Others can also attend. Bus Stop runs Thursdays to Sundays from Jan. 23 to Feb. 22 at the Langley Playhouse, 4307 200th St. in Brookswood. Show times are 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.
For reservations call 604-534-7469; email firstname.lastname@example.org; or buy tickets online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/producer/133005.
Tickets are $15.
More information is also available online at www.langleyplayers.com.
© 2015 Langley Advance