Wit’s End at The Bus StopPosted by Paul Caskey on June 29, 2012
I was happy to take in the Wit’s End production Science In Action at the Bus Stop Theatre last night. Griffin McInnes wrote and directed this humourous two-hander and, with partner Liz Johnston, assembled a crack team of collaborators to create the environment within which the action takes place. A modern day love story set against a back drop of televisions, the show reminds me of why every city with an active theatre/dance/performance community needs a Bus Stop Theatre. While Science In Action could be called a low budget show it must be understood that such terms are relative. While that wall of TV’s probably didn’t cost a bundle – experience tells me Griffin’s pretty resourceful – Nick Bottomley’s video musings that inhabit their screens probably did. The point I want to make is that even those shows where half of everything is cobbled together for free and the performers agree to work for a slice of the door (not saying that’s the case here, just that it happens), there are still bills to pay. Combine that with the challenge of attracting an audience willing to lay some dough on the table and I really wonder at the patience and perseverance required to develop talent.
Cue the Bus Stop Theatre… The Bus Stop offers two things I believe are thoroughly necessary to the ongoing success of a theatre/dance/performance community in a city like Halifax. 1) It’s affordable. Yes, you still have to pay rent, but no where near as much as you’d pay in a formal, established venue, AND you get plugged into the city’s funky underbelly; 2) It’s the right scale. Last night the theatre was for all intents and purposes sold out to the 40 or so people in attendance. We got an interesting experience in an intimate setting that felt wonderfully exclusive. Transplant those 40 people into a 150 seat house and all of a sudden the costs have gone up, the house feels empty, and the immediacy is gone.
New works by artists at all stages of development need spaces like the Bus Stop to develop their chops and grow their public.
Walking into the theatre bar/lobby last night, owner Clare Waqué’s always pleasant greeting from behind the bar makes own feel immediately at home… Props to Wit’s End for pulling off a solid production, and a big shout out to the Bus Stop Theatre for being there!
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