Reviewed by Becca Kidwell
Horror reigns at The Factory Theatre in Flat Earth Theatre’s taut production of Tracy Letts’ thriller Bug. An abused woman finds comfort and safety of a gentle stranger. However, their safety is short-lived when their motel room becomes infested with bugs. No matter how they try, their situation escalates providing a realistic and frightening experience.
Julie Becker plays the abused Agnes White so convincingly that at the beginning of the play, one can question whether she is truly as fragile as she appears; however, as the play progresses, it is evident that she has fully embodied the character and any weakness is a part of her characterization and not her true person. Ms. Becker’s vulnerable performance is palpable and draws the audience in.
As Peter Evans, James Hayward brings a gentleness that contrasts with Agnes’ ex-husband (played by Stephen James DeMarco) brute force. He takes Agnes into his arms and makes her and the audience feel safe–for a few moments. However, Peter finds the bugs and Agnes and Peter are then forced to face the infestation in their room and in their lives.
Stephen James Marco gives a formidable performance as Jerry Goss, Agnes’ ex-husband. His unpredictable presence adds another threat to an already tense situation. Emily Hecht and Tim Fairley give strong performances as both support and obstacles to Agnes and Peter’s safety.
Real fear arises out of realistic situations. Flat Earth Theatre takes the audience on a tense ride that doesn’t end until the lights go down. The audience begins to itch and shake as they are taken on a downward spiral of fear that can only be matched by movies like: The Silence of the Lambs and The Others.