RUST Review in The Grand Rapids Press

It was a fantastic opening night for RUST!  And the word is getting out – don’t miss this show!  RUST explores events that took place here in our hometown and takes a look at how the auto industry has effected the people in our community.

In honor of REVUE Magazine’s Beer Issue, publisher Brian Edwards recommended beer pairings for each of this weekend’s Best Bets: Grand Haven’s Art Walk, Actors’ Theatre Grand Rapids has RUST, Prospecto Musical Showcase & Sonic Experience, Boiling Pot Festival, and Mid-Life Crisis benefit for Kid’s Food Basket.  Check out the Best Bets recommendations on Fox 17.

The Grand Rapids Press writer Sue Merrell was at Actors’ for opening night – she gives RUST at Actors’ Theatre 3 stars out of 4!

‘Rust’ shines: Play tells story of GM plant closure in Wyoming
Published: Friday, September 30, 2011, 7:22 AM
By Sue Merrell | The Grand Rapids Press

Photo credit: Katie Greene | The Grand Rapids Press Dramatic threads: Relationships built around factory life help 'Rust' show how a workplace also becomes a community.

GRAND RAPIDS — The rhythmic pounding of a stamping machine could be heard in the background as a nearly full house of about 200 people gathered Thursday at Spectrum Theater for the debut performance of “Rust,” an ethnographic play about the 2008 closing of the General Motors plant in Wyoming.

The sound continued through the first scene or two, then it stopped. You couldn’t help but feel the void, like a giant heartbeat silenced.

Created by Grand Valley State University writing professor Austin Bunn and the Working Group Theatre, the play isn’t overly sad or maudlin, and it even has a few light moments.

But there is a towering sense of frustration and loss that runs through the comments of workers, even retired corporate executives, that Bunn interviewed.

Bunn portrays himself as this sort of bungling storyteller, who had an idealized vision of what the story should be and slowly discovered a different story, a resilience and transformation he hadn’t expected.

The remaining eight members of the ensemble portray various voices from workers to family and community members. Bernice Houseward gives a great portrayal of a history teacher who credits the auto industry with creating the middle class and transforming family life by giving people more independence and options.


Be sure and read the rest of the review, here on To get more information on RUST and to order your tickets online, go to the Actors’ Theatre website at

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