Ah friends. These absences aren’t good for us. It’s not you, it’s me. And Vampire Wars. And car wrecks and illnesses and audits (oh my). Life keeps happening before I get a chance to check in…there’s so much I have to tell you…but today I’m here with a purpose (because I’d actually planned on being here two Fridays ago with a purpose but friends, I can’t drink like I used to. Well…I can, but the aftermath…and then the car wreck and the illness…but I digress). If you live in my region and you are looking for something to do this weekend, go see “Bug” at the Oakland.
“Why should I?” You might be asking. (Damn! You’ve gotten lippy haven’t you?…) Well friends, not only does “Bug” have blood and guts and craziness and violence? but there’s nudity! LIVE NUDITY! Plus, it’s really really good.
I don’t want to give too much away so I’m cutting and pasting the press release: “Set in a seedy hotel room, this thriller centers on the blossoming relationship between Agnes, a divorced waitress, and Peter, a soft spoken Gulf War drifter. Agnes stays at a hotel in hopes of avoiding her physically abusive ex-husband, Jerry, who was just released from prison. On top of that, there’s a hidden bug infestation problem that has both Agnes and Peter dealing with scathing welts and festering sores. Their fears soon escalate to paranoia, conspiracy theories, and twisted psychological motives.”
Now friends, there was a movie with Ashley Judd and Harry Connick Jr. but don’t hold that movie against the play because this play is brilliant. Allow me to elaborate. First, When you hear the name Agnes, it doesn’t generally bring a vision of porn star hot to your mind right? Well this Agnes is different. She is way hot and yeah you get to see her nudie parts but all hot nudiness aside? Aggie is the kind of character you can’t forget. The part is played by hot (sometimes naked) Terri Labedz and she is FREAKING STELLAR. She takes Ashley Judd’s cookie cutter performance and makes it so much more complex and fascinating. The whole time she is on stage, she makes this play her bitch.
Now the entire first scene is Terri by herself, so I was a bit dubious about Ron Aulet’s Peter being able to hold his own with her, but friends, he did. He first comes across as a timid puppy but as he and Aggie grow closer, he begins to communicate his studied but growing paranoia in a way that expresses a surprising inner fierceness. And let’s not forget Jerry (played by Oakland favorite Ric Panning), who captures every nuance of the abusive ex. He is deliciously creepy and sociopathic while almost unknowingly revealing an intensity of feeling towards Aggie that makes the audience understand why her non-verbals reflect her ambivalence even as she expresses such firm hatred towards him.
Did I mention my friend Dennick directed the play? I remember during one of our first conversations Dennick described good drama as building the audience tension slowly, while breaking it up with bits of comedy or even normalcy. He talked about how this process will make that big dramatic punch so much more powerful. And that’s what he did with this play friends. He toys with you until the very end. And it’s brilliant.
If you go? Make sure you ooh and ahhh over the set as a great deal of work went into achieving that special brand of cheapness we all come to expect in our low rent motel rooms. Also, keep your eyes open for my all-time favorite disturbing character actor. (who also happens to be my brother!) Jim Canacci offers an admirably unsettling portrayal of Peter’s doctor thus adding to the play’s ongoing mind-game with the audience. Finally, don’t be surprised if you have a bad case of the heebie jeebies soon after intermission. I pretty much found myself scratching for the entire second half of the play.
More press release details:
The show runs tonight (Thursday the 5th) tomorrow and Saturday at 8:00 pm. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors 55 years and over, and $10 for students with valid ID. Group rates are also available for parties of 10 or more.
For reservations, please contact 330-746-0404. For additional information, cast photos, blogs and more, visit oaklandcenter.com. Also check myspace.com/oaklandcenter for special discounts.
Ok friends, I slept for exactly one hour last night so I’m going to try to sneak a nap in before alarms go off. I promise I will be more faithful. I’ve wanted to tell you about my disturbing dreams lately. Watching forensics shows and falling asleep to C-SPAN is starting to take its toll on my psyche (not to mention how alarming it is to wake up to a screaming Parliament. Who knew that Parliament was England’s answer to WWF?)