Edit ModuleShow Tags

Bricolage's BUS Ride Through Light-Speed Theater

A preview of BUS, Bricolage's annual fundraiser and uncanny theater event.




photo by Luke Bruehlman, courtesy bricolage

If you’re a procrastinator like me, you’ll finish this sentence later.

Get it? No? Well, moving on.

Those of us who thrive under deadlines know that a lack of time can be a boon to creativity; sometimes the mind is inspired to deliver results when it has no option but to do so. And so we leave projects until the last minute, relying on some combination of grit and providence to get things done.

Collaborative art forms, generally speaking, don’t work on such schedules; rehearsals are set, schedules are made, someone is generally making sure that things get done gradually.

When such structures are ignored, however — when deliberate limits are put on the length of time involved in creation — things get interesting.

For evidence, look no further than Bricolage Production Company's annual fundraiser, BUS, the 2017 edition of which is scheduled for this weekend. Throughout 24 frenzied hours, the boundary-pushing theater group assembles a roster of talented directors, writers and performers, divides them into groups and challenges them to produce an original work with the clock ticking.

The journey begins on Friday evening, when the flock of playwrights boards a group of PAT buses. Inspiration for the play-to-be is to come from something encountered on the journey, whatever that might entail.

As for subject matter, the playwrights are often given a prompt — but one that is deliberately broad, according to Bricolage Artistic Director Jeffrey Carpenter. “We often have a word or phrase or question of inspiration we give to the playwrights before they head out,” he says, citing past examples such as “transformation,” “I have a dream” and “Who gets left behind when change comes to town?”

It takes little more than that to keep the experience new each year, he says. “There is nothing fresher than six brand-spankin’ new plays unveiled for the first time in front of 400 people.”

For the performers, it makes for an odd experience, simultaneously stressful and freeing. Parag S. Gohel is a veteran BUS actor returning for this year’s edition; he says that confidence is key to the truncated process. “One of the biggest challenges I’ve found with BUS — which also makes it so incredibly exciting for participants and audience members alike — is that there is really no room to hesitate or second-guess yourself,” he says. “Once you make a decision, you sort of have to go with your gut and commit with full force since the luxury of a traditional rehearsal period is taken away.”

Those who’d like to see the finished product can do so by buying either a “Mini BUS” or “Party BUS” ticket, which will grant access to the show alone or the show and pre-show party, respectively. The full BUS experience, however, begins Friday with what Bricolage has dubbed the “Live Actor Exhibition.”

With accompanying tapas and drinks, the crop of performers on tap for BUS will introduce themselves to playwrights, directors and those audience members who opt to spring for the “Double Decker BUS” ticket, granting admission to all the festivities on both nights. It’s a de facto audition; however, the plays are yet to be written. In lieu of a bit of script, the performers talk about themselves — revealing interesting, unusual and occasionally moving bits of their lives.

It’s a memorable night of theater all on its own. Christine Starkey, who is appearing in BUS for the first time this year, relishes the opportunity to dig deep during the Exhibition. “I’m a very honest person,” Starkey says. “My life is an open book and a lot of my friends know most of my story. My challenge [will] be to allow myself to open up and reveal a chapter in my story that not very many people have covered.

“I want BUS to be a memorable experience for myself, as well as any of the audience members that my story touches.”

BUS starts this Friday night at Bricolage, with Saturday’s events moving to the August Wilson Center; click here for tickets and info.

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

The Joy of Cookies: Cookies Tour Enters 20th Season

The Joy of Cookies: Cookies Tour Enters 20th Season

More than 48,000 cookies will bring in holiday cheer in Lawrenceville.
Can You Name All of the Lists Pittsburgh is On?

Can You Name All of the Lists Pittsburgh is On?

Pittsburgh's first significant nationwide ranking was more than three decades ago –– and a lot has changed since then.
First-Ever Pittsburgh Cat Film Festival Makes Local Kittens Famous

First-Ever Pittsburgh Cat Film Festival Makes Local Kittens Famous

The Pittsburgh Cat Film Festival at Row House Cinema is headlined by a collection of local cat videos.
New Options and New Cheap Fares at Pittsburgh International

New Options and New Cheap Fares at Pittsburgh International

Two airlines are adding destinations from Pittsburgh and another is again offering rock-bottom fares to Europe.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Matt Murray's Focus is on the Journey, Not the Destination

Matt Murray's Focus is on the Journey, Not the Destination

The Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender already has his name on the Stanley Cup — twice. Matt Murray may be a champion, but he’s still working diligently to improve his game.
Excellence in Nursing: Meet Our 2017 Honorees

Excellence in Nursing: Meet Our 2017 Honorees

Pittsburgh Magazine highlights the unsung heroes of the health care field: our Excellence in Nursing honorees, chosen by our panel of distinguished judges in the field.
Restaurant Review: Superior Motors

Restaurant Review: Superior Motors

Kevin Sousa’s long-anticipated project fires on all cylinders as a restaurant. But, will it fulfill its larger mission?
Pittsburgh City Steps: An Artist Tells Their Stories

Pittsburgh City Steps: An Artist Tells Their Stories

Artist Laura Zurowski is on a mission to document Pittsburgh's public steps in an unorthodox way.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


The Joy of Cookies: Cookies Tour Enters 20th Season

The Joy of Cookies: Cookies Tour Enters 20th Season

More than 48,000 cookies will bring in holiday cheer in Lawrenceville.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Just in Time for the Holidays: Miracle Returns to Downtown

Just in Time for the Holidays: Miracle Returns to Downtown

The over-the-top holiday-themed bar opens at the Original Oyster House the night after Thanksgiving.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Meet the Winner of Our 2017 Cutest Pet Contest

Meet the Winner of Our 2017 Cutest Pet Contest

The winner received the most votes among five dogs, four cats and a bunny.

Comments


Steal the Crown Jewels at Escape Room 51

Steal the Crown Jewels at Escape Room 51

The new escape game is instantly among the best in town.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Are Steelers Good Enough to Overcome Themselves?

Are Steelers Good Enough to Overcome Themselves?

The time has come for the offense to more often resemble what everyone thought it would become this season, as opposed to sinking on occasion to a Cleveland Browns-esque level of ineptitude.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
#Gottahaveit: Take It To the Hoop

#Gottahaveit: Take It To the Hoop

Robert Hallett, Goldsmith, handcrafts the jewelry in his Oakmont shop.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Justice League Could've Been Worse (But Should've Been a Lot Better)

Justice League Could've Been Worse (But Should've Been a Lot Better)

Reviews of "Justice League," "Wonder" and "Lady Bird," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
One for the History Books: A Cathedral of Learning Proposal

One for the History Books: A Cathedral of Learning Proposal

This groom-to-be popped the question at new heights, potentially making him the first person to propose on top of the University of Pittsburgh’s signature structure.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Iconic Kaufmann’s Building Gets New Lease with Luxury Apartments, Hotel

Iconic Kaufmann’s Building Gets New Lease with Luxury Apartments, Hotel

The developers behind Kaufmann’s Grand on Fifth Downtown promise to meld the historic with the modern as it readies to open more than 300 units featuring voice-command system Amazon Alexa, plus a rooftop infinity pool, restaurant and bar.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

School trustees voted this week to increase tuition for in-state and out-of-state students.

Comments