Entertainment » Theatre


by Christopher Verleger
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Sep 30, 2008

Black Rep opens the theater season with an electrifying production of Pulitzer Prize-winner Tracy Letts' play Bug, a disturbing comic drama that examines the fine line between loneliness and madness.

Bug is the story of Agnes (Jackie Davis), an Oklahoma waitress who lives in a cramped motel room and spends most of her melancholy days alone, grieving for the son she lost in a grocery store nine years ago and living in fear of her recently-released, criminal ex-husband, Jerry (Raidge). When liquor and grass fail to lessen her pain and worry, she seeks solace in the company of her lesbian friend, R.C. (Marie Michaelle Saintil), who shows up one night with a handsome, young drifter, Peter (Cedric Lilly).

The chemistry between Agnes and Peter--and the respective actors who play them--is obvious and eerily intriguing. Agnes invites Peter to spend the night and they spend the rest of the first act building a relationship of alarming co-dependence.

Peter's awkward mannerisms and conversational ability are seemingly infantile, whereas Agnes can guard her emotions for only so long in the presence of this mysterious, attractive gentleman. These two need each other, however pathetic it may seem, and their mutual need spirals completely out of control in the second act, when their makeshift home becomes infested with insects--insects visible to no one but them.

Virtually every moment in act two is rife with either tension or despair. Maggie Pilat's set design is truly stifling and effectively conveys a feeling of entrapment as the walls of the motel room close in on the couple, literally and figuratively. Both Davis' and Lilly's superb performances are complemented by Megan Sandberg-Zakian's direction. Agnes and Peter could easily have come across as conscious victims of circumstance, but instead they convey an inherent humanity and shared vulnerability that compels the audience's sympathy, even after all hope is lost.

Not for the squeamish, Black Rep's Bug is a compelling, psychologically enriching theater experience.

Performances through October 19 at Providence Black Repertory Company, 276 Westminster Street. For schedule, ticket prices and more informaton, visit www.blackrep.org.

Chris is a voracious reader and unapologetic theater geek from Narragansett, Rhode Island.


  • , 2008-09-30 14:30:47

    I have seen the performance many times, during preview week, as well as the opening!!! I really enjoyed it!! The play really has rekindled my love for performance art and theater that I thought I had lost. Bug is definitely a play to see, it will keep you on edge, guessing and hoping to learn more about some of the issues/items/technology that is mentioned in the play. I left questioning whether or not it is based on fact or fiction. The best part is I think about the play often. I can’t wait to see it again...

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