The School Bus Sets the Stage, the Kids Steal the Spotlight

(L to R) Piper Cunningham as Stella, Alex Duva as Stanley, Zoe Smithey as Blanche (L to R) Piper Cunningham as Stella, Alex Duva as Stanley, Zoe Smithey as Blanche

A yellow school bus replaces the infamous streetcar that carries Blanche DuBois off to the asylum in a kid-centric reimagining of A Streetcar Named Desire to be staged at the Plano Children’s Theatre in Plano, Texas.

The Fun House Theatre and Film has put together A School Bus Named Desire, a gentler adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Tennessee Williams, which will run Aug. 14-23.

This new version centers the story in kindergarten, where the fragile Blanche arrives at Elysian Elementary School to meet a host of familiar characters, including Stella and Stanley, the latter still causing Blanche to descend into insanity—once a bully, always a bully.

As for the school bus, according to Bren Rapp, producer of the play as well as the founding partner and president
 of The Fun House Theatre and Film, it acts similarly to the streetcar in the original story.

“Although school buses don’t tend to have names, the vehicle takes on the same significance in our version. The bus is what delivers our Blanche to her cousin’s school, where she hopes her desire for a fresh start, from her prior school, town and what the audience learns to be her complex past, is able to be met,” said Rapp.

If this doesn’t yet sound like a lighter rendition of the source material, rest assured, Rapp and his collaborator, Jeff Swearingen, have stated that the audience will be left in stitches by the performances of the young actors.

As Blanche would say, in a quote from this softer interpretation, “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers…I just don’t take candy from them.”

Like the previous parodies put on by this production company, Daffodil Girls and Yes Virginia Woolf, There is a Santa Claus (formally, Glengarry Glen Ross and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), A School Bus Named Desire was conceptualized by Rapp and written by Swearingen.  

“What works about these productions is that Jeff creates a world in which it is entirely feasible that these famous works can play out in unexpected ways, making them accessible for young actors,” said Rapp.  

Last modified onTuesday, 21 July 2015 15:55