It’s a rare moment when the first sound of a cricket can herald a passionate and directed descent into a chilling madness with one victim leading the other into a complex version of hell.
But that’s what happens in the distinguished production of Tracy Letts' "Bug," which opened this weekend at Splinter Group under the direction of Jim Farrell.
That cricket is the spark that takes Agnes and Peter to places nobody ever thought even existed.
Agnes (Niffer Clarke) is a middle aged divorcee, living her life in a seedy Oklahoma motel and fearful of her ex-husband Goss (Rick Pendzich) who has just gotten out of two years in prison for armed robbery.
Her only ally in life is R.C. (Sara Zientek), a lesbian bartender who is the rock in the stormy seas of Agnes’ life. And R. C. brings the conductor of this train to nowhere, Peter (Max Williamson) into the motel room and into Agnes’ world.
Agnes is lonely. She is a lost sailboat without any rudder. She wants someone to like her, to show her some respect. Self esteem and Agnes live in different Oklahoma counties.
Suddenly there is Peter. Half her age, tall and taciturn. He is awkward around her, but he likes her. A lot. It’s been years since Peter has been with a woman, and there is a sense of being flattered when he confesses that to her.
But he is a man of mystery.
‘I don’t know why I love you," she says after their relationship has caught a rhythm. "I don’t know anything about you."
We know that phrase is just a wisp of a willow as it’s clear that Letts is going to let her, and us, know everything about him.
And it starts with the cricket.
In bed together, Peter hears the sound of the cricket. He slaps his arm and his head and his back. "Aphids," he tells Agnes. And they search for the offending sound the the cricket, stripping bed linen until they finally notice it is a battery-dead smoke alarm.
Not to worry as Peter’s obsessive fear of the bugs begins to slowly take over their relationship a…Read more...