As featured in American Theatre Magazine: A Haven for Directors, and a Stepping Stone
In the early 1950's, William Inge -not yet the famous playwright he would become- taught English at a local Kansas college. Feeling increasingly purposeless in this job, Inge would often take the overnight bus into Kansas City often to see a psychiatrist. At the beginning of what would be a long relationship with psychoanalysis, Inge wrote his therapy journal in the form of short one acts. One of these plays was People in the Wind, which was inspired by a real encounter he witnessed one night on this bus. The one acts on the whole focus on forbidden desire and failure to be a successful person, anxieties which were overwhelmingly powerful in Inge's life at the time. They live somewhere between fantasy, memory, and nightmare. You can find Inge in this play as the Professor, an academic who does not know how to make use of the knowledge she has.
Inge eventually re-wrote People in the Wind, and in an effort to make a box office hit, removed some of the sadness and danger to create the romantic comedy Bus Stop. I wanted to bring to life his original work because I feel that this one act has perfectly preserved a moment of coming of age in the playwright's life. The play is the shattering that occurs when when we realize, for the very first time, that we had the real power to help someone, yet did nothing. It the story of realizing your actions matter to others, and that in life, no one is an audience member.
People in the Wind
By William Inge
Presented by Haven Theatre as part of Director’s Haven 2018
A girl bursts into a roadside diner, panicked. Something on the greyhound bus she has been riding cross-country is not right. But everyone else is also on the run, fixated on the hope that this Kansas wind will blow them as far west as possible. So what’s a girl to do? William Inge’s one act, which would eventually become the first draft of his play Bus Stop, explores the chaotic effects of the American Dream, and how the quest for a perfect life can make us blind to the pain of others.
ELMA: Kristen Alesia
GIRL: Kylie Anderson
PROFESSOR: Lynne Baker
OLD LADIES Grayson Heyl, Hillary Horvath
DRIVER: Gregory D. Hicks
GRACE: Amy Hunt
MAN: Andrew Rathgeber
UNDERSTUDY ELMA: Sophie Neff
STAGE MANAGER: Liz Larsen
PRODUCTION MANAGER: Angela Salinas
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: Josh Sobel
SCENIC: Will Tople COSTUMES: Amanda Rabito
LIGHTING: Blake Cordell PROPS: Emily Boyd
SOUND: Sarah D. Espinoza OBJECT DESIGN: Jurrell Lewis
CASTING: Nik Whitcomb DRAMATURGY: Abhi Shrestha