SHOWING : September 15, 2005 - October 29, 2005
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This REGIONAL PREMIERE, directed by AE Artistic Director Jasson Minadakis, is Tracy Letts'(Killer Joe) new theatrical thriller featuring a pair of star-crossed lovers facing a bug invasion in an Oklahoma City motel.
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Getting Under the Skin|
Wednesday, October 5, 2005 ||
An old slogan from the ‘60’s read “Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.” A 21st-Century corollary would probably read “Just because most conspiracy theorists are nuts, doesn’t mean there are no conspiracies.” To this I’d like to add, “Just because I lead off with some random thoughts, doesn’t mean they have anything to do with the play being discussed.”|
So, let’s talk about “Bug.” In its simplest terms, “Bug” is about Peter, an ex-soldier who is convinced the government has infested him with millions of microscopic bugs as part of a mysterious experiment. He moves into the motel-room home of Agnes, a struggling waitress who is hiding from an ex-husband just paroled from prison. She also carries the burden of feeling responsible for the loss of a child who disappeared from a grocery store shopping-cart. Her fragile ego becomes a prime breeding ground for Peter’s infectious paranoia (or infectious infestation, depending on how close to reality his paranoia approaches). Soon, the room is filled with flypaper, Insecticide, Toy Microscopes, and Actors scratching themselves so furiously it makes our skin crawl to watch them.
Playwright Tracy Letts (author of last year’s wonderful “Killer Joe”) likes characters who live on the edges of society. He makes them surprising, vulnerable, and vicious. At the same time, he has a dark DARK sense of humor that has us grinning in spite of ourselves, amused by what should appall, and questioning the rational basis for many of our ethical preconceptions. It’s a measure of his manipulative skill that the abusive husband in “Bug” comes across as far less frightening than the soft-spoken Peter. Focusing on Agnes rather than Peter makes us care what happens, makes us sit and watch fascinated, as one would watch an inevitable Train Crash at a Crossroads.
Daniel May and Sherman Fracher bare themselves literally and emotionally as their duet descends deeper and deeper into the inevitable violent conclusion. It’s a measure of their performances that, even though they are naked much of the time, we’re more interested in what they’re saying or doing than in how they look. The nudity even adds a strange subtext that makes the horror (and the humor) even more intense. Sexuality and Paranoia seem to go hand-in-hand in a scenario that has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with emotional intimacy.
Needless to say, not everyone will like this play (my wife was heard to grumble afterwards that “Kaufman and Hart plays don’t have naked people [activity deleted to avoid spoiler] at the end”). All I can say is that I liked it, even when it made my skin crawl. Maybe because it made my skin crawl. Maybe because it justified all that aluminum foil I installed in our attic. Maybe because I always feel tiny legs running up and down my arms at night. ARE YOU LISTENING? SHOULD WE ALL SING A CHORUS OF “THE ILLUMINATI POLKA?”
(We regret that the remainder of this review has been edited in the interests of National Security. Stay Tuned to Fox TV for an official Statement from Homeland Security).
-- Brad Rudy (BKRudy@aol.com)
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| || The Illuminati Polka by Dedalus|
| Yes, this is a real song. And since no one's asked, and someone is watching my every move, this is a good opportunity to share the lyrics:|
The Illuminati Polka
Words and Music: © 2002 by Tom Smith
I wrote this for fun, and for my friend Steve Jackson of Steve Jackson Games. All Hail Discordia!
Willkommen to Bavaria! Everybody DANCE!
You've heard that everyone is six degrees from Kevin Bacon,
But do you know the Six Degrees of Grand Exalted Mason?
For everyone and everything has around it curled
The tentacles of the Secret Masters who control the world.
I rule you, you rule me, someone rules us secretly,
It's a vast conspiracy, the Illuminati Polka!
For several thousand years now, they've worked behind the scenes,
They laugh when we buy Dockers -- we've all got designer genes!
They know if you'll get the girl or pass the S.A.T.,
It's kinda like The Truman Show combined with D&D.
Everybody's bank account is serviced by the Gnomes,
The Masonic Temple gets the mortgage payment for your homes,
Commander Weisshaupt keeps Saddam from being killed too soon,
While Crowley and Blavatsky run Wall Street from the moon.
The Media say "Everything is awful but it's okay",
It turns out that Fox Mulder is really Keyser Soze,
If Men In Black are in your tub, or birds consult your cat,
Duck your head, try not to think, and wear this tinfoil hat.
The entertainment industry just got the Atom Bomb,
Dick Cheney and Al Qaeda run Enron with your mom,
Your DNA's on CD-R, so heads up, P.D.Q.,
You may not have a hope in hell, but at least you've got a clue!
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