Opening Tonight!

“On the Bum, Or the Next Train Through”


The Basic Information

Beginning tonight, the Department of Theatre and Dance in the College of Charleston School of the Arts will present the quirky comedy “On the Bum, Or the Next Train Through,” by Neal Bell. The production will run Thursday, February 21st through Tuesday, February 26th. Curtain times are at 7:30 p.m., except Sunday at 3 p.m. only. Performances take place at the Emmett Robinson Theatre in the Simons Center for the Arts (54 Saint Philip St.). Tickets may be purchased at the box office (Simons Center for the Arts, first floor), by telephone 953-5604, or by emailing Admission is $10 for College of Charleston students, faculty and staff and senior citizens 60 and older (with a valid ID). General admission is $15.

The Story

It’s set in 1938 when America was overflowing with talented men and women of the theatre. Unfortunately, America was also in the midst of the Great Depression. In an era of  25% unemployment, the WPA rescued thousands of theatre artists. “On The Bum” follows the whimsical, fictional, exploits of one such actress as she goes from a New York cast to opening night to certain, though low-wage, employment in a local historical drama in the town of Bumfork.The playwright, Neal Bell has, captured the witty style of the 1930’s cleverest comedies.

The Director’s Take

Mark Landis of the Department of Theatre and Dance faculty is directing the play. Landis says, “I don’t think I’ve read a play in many years that dares an audience to learn from history, that credits an audience with coming into the play smart and well-informed, and that does both of those things while it reminds us how richly funny dialogue used to be in the smart comedies of pre-war America. Neal Bell has given us quite an amazing piece to play because the writing is so very, very good; and it never lets us settle into a formulaic approach. It think people will be frequently surprised by the humor of the play and the turns this really intriguing story takes.”

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