Oct 30

Under The Bright Sun

by Wil Knoll · 0 comments

Because the strangers on the bus make me question my existence and purpose sometimes…

Currently running at Lunchbox Theatre is the world premiere of Norm Foster’s Under The Bright Sun. Amnesia of some form confounds four people waiting at a bus stop, leading them to question their lives and love. Running until November 16th, you can check out this lunchtime comedy which seems to have a basis in an all too familiar sensation for some of us.

Or at least for me. I’ve often spent time at the bus questioning my motives for everything, wondering if the person standing beside me is happy with their life, or if I was happy with mine… I asked the cast members of Under The Bright Sun to commiserate about public transit based moments with me. This is what they had to say.

Wil Knoll – Every patron of public transit seems to have that one horror story… Any that you wanted to share?

Elinor Holt – When I was living in Edmonton I regularly encountered the “Juicy Fruit Lady”. Every day I saw her she would eat an entire pack of Juicy Fruit. One stick after another in her mouth until she was smacking with every chew and there was an over powering smell of Juicy Fruit. Also, I once could not get out of the Greyhound bathroom and another passenger on the outside had to calmingly tell me how to get out.

Len Harvey – In Vancouver in the early 90s, after they closed an insane asylum the residents ended up riding the public buses. One lady saw some girls with bright colored hair and just freaked out, yelling at them until they got off the bus…

Karen Johnson-Diamond – Once, when my son was young, we were on the bus and just out of the blue he yelled, “Hey, everybody! Look at my mom’s boob.” Not “boobs”, just one of them. I’m not sure why he did it.

Wil – There was a guy one night that started picking random fights with people on the LRT. Asked me how I wanted to die… *shudder*. Your show discusses people taking stock of their lives. What do you think it is about exposure to strangers, either on the bus or at the stop, which triggers this? Is it the strangers or is it something else?

Len – Once on the bus a young girl took off her over coat and you could clearly see she was a ‘cutter’. I’m not a trained as a social worker but I wanted to help her. I felt helpless. Eventually I realized that if I could just get her into a theatre and she could experience the joy of the theatre things might be better for her, even for just a while.

Karen – On the bus you have nothing better to do it is fun to sit quietly and judge others.

Wil – Did working on this show help identify anything to you that you personally needed to take a look at? Good or bad?

Len – I’ve always been pretty introspective so I think about that kind of stuff regularly.

Elinor – It reinforced that I love my job. I never dreaded coming to rehearsal.

Wil – You’ve never dreaded going to rehearsal? I’m in the wrong line of work at my day job. Speaking of monotony, ever wait an insane amount of time for a bus? What was the thought process there?

Len – Last winter when it was really cold and snowy I remember waiting forever for the bus, and was terrified that if I left to find out what was going on I would miss the bus. That is a terrible, paralyzing feeling.

Karen – I once waited for a bus in the cold for over an hour and eventually had an asthma attack and had to go to the hospital.

Elinor – Not a public transit bus but I grew up on a farm and often had to wait forever for the school bus. The longest I ever had to wait for a bus was two weeks when we were snowed in and the buses couldn’t get through.

Wil – Did the bus ever come?

Len – It did eventually. With lots of angry people on it.

Karen – No. I walked.

Elinor – When the snow melted it did eventually.

Wil – Love that, “eventually”.

So maybe do something different with your lunch and enjoy a comedy set in that odd place that we all have been…. The deep pool of thoughts in your head that can only ever really exist while waiting at the bus stop.

Now I really don’t want to take the bus home…

Under The Bright Sun runs until November 14, 2009.

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