Busapalooza: Ben Clawson is “Breaking” Good

Sunday, Mar 08, 2009 10:07am

If you’re interested in what creative energy and a tiny budget can produce in a space barely bigger than your living room, you should get yourself over to the Luna Stage before Ben Clawson’s new comedy, “Spilling Stuff and Breaking Things,” closes next Saturday.
The newest production of the young Strange Dog Theatre Company, “Spilling Stuff” gives us four school bus drivers called in on Sunday to face the music for an after-work lark on Friday night.


In the course of an hour and three-quarters, Clawson gives us ruminations on friendship, longing, the dignity of work and resistance to authority. Plus it’s funny. Really funny.
The four actors are uniformly good. Scott Cagney brings a boisterous enthusiasm to Ray, the eternal adolescent and ringleader of the mischief, a role of rampaging Cat-In-The-Hat id. Kris Longwell balances him nicely as the “responsible” driver Walt, letting his need to be part of the group peek through.
Samantha Beedle is funny and explosive as Patty, a driver with tardiness and anger issues. And Diana Limon turns in a small jewel of a performance as the shrinking violet Laura. Ms. Limon gets more laughs out of tiny gestures — like rubbing her nose against a wall — than should be legal.
Director Robert Bradshaw moves his actors deftly around the tiny stage. The first act starts at such a high decibel and emotional level that we’re a little weary by intermission, but it’s a minor flaw. Matthew Anastasio designed the clever sets, including a couple of the smallest revolving walls we’ve ever seen.
Go see it. You’ll get some laughs. Plus you’ll never look at a bus driver, or a checkout clerk, quite the same way again.

There’s a 3 pm matinee today, plus 8 pm shows on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $15 and $20. Mention “Baristanet” to get Thursday night tickets for $10.

Photo by Michael Stahl-Best Friend Photography

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