Article by Joseph Lewis

Tracy Letts challenges the boundary between sanity and madness in his 1996 play, Bug.  Agnes, the main character, seeks refuge from her abusive ex-con husband, Jerry Goss, in a dingy motel room in a remote Oklahoma county.  While in hiding, Agnes's lesbian biker friend, R.C., introduces her to a coy Gulf War drifter named Peter. Agnes and Peter's platonic relationship soon becomes intimate once Agnes tells Peter about her missing son.  As they grow closer, Peter expresses fearful thoughts due to his experiences at an army hospital.

From this point, the two begin to notice a bug infestation in the seedy motel room, and Peter convinces Agnes that the bug infestation is part of a U.S. government conspiracy. Feelings of paranoia cause the couple to self mutilate themselves in isolation; at the same time, feelings of paranoia also trigger the couple's descent into madness.

Bug was originally released in 1996 at Notting Hill in London, England and in 2001 in the United States. Since then, the play has won four Lucille Lortel Awards for outstanding play, outstanding director (Dexter Bullard), outstanding light design, and outstanding sound design.  It also won an Obie Award for outstanding acting (Shannon Cochran).

William Freidkin, director of the 1973 chiller The Exorcist, directed the Hollywood screen adaptation of Bug in 2006. In an NPR interview Freidkin stated that this was the most intense story that he had ever directed.

At Saginaw Valley State University, director Caleb Knutson will explore his interpretation of this disturbing black comedy about love, sanity, madness, and paranoia in his production of Letts's play. Knutson's adaptation stars Christal Schoen as Agnes and Randall Manetta as Peter.

Performances will be held at the Studio Theatre located in 180 Curtiss Hall at Saginaw Valley State University.   Showtimes are July 22, 23 & 24 at 7:30 p.m.  Admission is $10.00 for adults and $7.00 for seniors.  For more information, please contact 989.964.4159.