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 ModuleShow Tags

The 412

‘The Good Wife’s’ Zach Grenier Appears on the Pittsburgh Stage

‘The Good Wife’s’ Zach Grenier Appears on the Pittsburgh Stage

Grenier on playing the dream role of Willy Loman, coming to Pittsburgh and performing at the renowned Pittsburgh Public Theater.
Enjoy a Cocktail to Help Preserve Pittsburgh's Historic Murals

Enjoy a Cocktail to Help Preserve Pittsburgh's Historic Murals

The nearly 80-year-old murals by Maxo Vanka show an immigrant's’ perspective on important issues.
‘The Chainsmokers’ Forgot Spellcheck for Pittsburgh Concert

‘The Chainsmokers’ Forgot Spellcheck for Pittsburgh Concert

A mistake at the end of the duo's sold-out show earned them some good-natured teasing on social media.
So Where are the Best 'Burbs in the Pittsburgh Area?

So Where are the Best 'Burbs in the Pittsburgh Area?

Pittsburgh-based Niche crunched a whole lot of data to rank the best suburbs in the country, the state, and around here.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in April

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in April

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area

Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area

Lace up your sneakers or hiking boots and head outdoors for 10 great walks for spring.
412 Food Rescue: Revolutionary Repurposing

412 Food Rescue: Revolutionary Repurposing

Local nonprofit organization 412 Food Rescue is taking food that otherwise would be tossed aside and connecting it with those in need through-of-the-moment technology.
Spring Fashion: The Height of White

Spring Fashion: The Height of White

Fashion is white haute this spring with the best looks from local stores.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


‘The Good Wife’s’ Zach Grenier Appears on the Pittsburgh Stage

‘The Good Wife’s’ Zach Grenier Appears on the Pittsburgh Stage

Grenier on playing the dream role of Willy Loman, coming to Pittsburgh and performing at the renowned Pittsburgh Public Theater.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Scratch Food & Beverage Has a New Executive Chef

Scratch Food & Beverage Has a New Executive Chef

Brandon Blumenfeld introduces an American gastropub menu at the Troy Hill bar.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

These spots are tailored for couples who are looking for a simple, chill night out on Valentine’s Day (or any other day). If your significant other isn’t the type to be wooed by expensive wines and chocolates, this is the list for you.

Comments


Dive Bar & Grille Expands to South Side, Remains Charming

Dive Bar & Grille Expands to South Side, Remains Charming

The latest outpost of the small, Wexford-born chain isn't flashy, but offers good beer and grub.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
A Life Well Lived: Dan Rooney's Humility and Humanity

A Life Well Lived: Dan Rooney's Humility and Humanity

Delivering the Homily at Rooney's funeral, Cardinal Donald Wuerl acknowledged a longstanding Rooney philosophical belief: “You can get anything done if you don’t care who gets the credit.”

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Pittsburgh on a Plate

Pittsburgh on a Plate

The way to a beer lover’s heart is mapped out on notNeutral’s plate, which highlights Pittsburgh breweries (and other points of interest) across the city.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
A Refreshing Action Flick and a Redundant Thriller

A Refreshing Action Flick and a Redundant Thriller

Reviews of "Free Fire," "Unforgettable" and "The Promise," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Planning Proposals: The Element of Surprise

Planning Proposals: The Element of Surprise

This couple’s proposal story really takes the cake.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Rare Plants, Accessories, Up for Grabs at 2017 Garden Marketplace

Rare Plants, Accessories, Up for Grabs at 2017 Garden Marketplace

Hosted by the Penn State Master Gardeners, the free event, which includes the local daffodil society’s annual show, features exclusive and hard-to-find flowers, shrubs, fruit and vegetable plants and other garden accessories from a variety of vendors.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
A-Rod to Talk Baseball and Steroids at Slippery Rock

A-Rod to Talk Baseball and Steroids at Slippery Rock

Considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time, Alex Rodriguez also is one of the league's more controversial stars.

Comments