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Corn Stock Winter Playouse
March 11 - 13 & 17 - 20



by Liz Scoville

What do you do when the arrival of one small insect triggers the descent into fear, distrust, and crumbling rationality?

Director Trevor Neff addresses the fragility of the human mind in the upcoming production of “BUG” at Corn Stock Theatre. Written by Tracy Letts and set in 1990’s Oklahoma, “BUG” tells the story of Agnes, a tattered woman with a troubled past, who lives in a motel room following the release of her ex-husband, Jerry, from prison. After a visit from her friend, RC, and her acquaintance, Peter, Agnes and Peter begin a love affair that quickly turns dangerous as secrets are revealed and the arrival of bugs elicits a downward plunge into insanity.

In addition to the direction of his cast, Neff’s focus on technical creativity highlights the show’s aesthetic. On Corn Stock’s in-the-round theatre stage space, a physical room is created at an angle: dirty glasses, a worn-out bathtub, and a dated boom box are a few of the details that add weighty realism to the scene. Low quarter-height walls outline the room within the set, exposing the characters and the audience alike to the confining atmosphere driven by the nerve-wracking plot. Subtle light changes mimic the slow but certain unraveling of the characters’ resolves, with scene changes in pure black (as opposed to traditional dark blue) to thicken the veil of conspiracy. Sound effects drive this purpose as well, such as with white noise and helicopter whirls often associated with impending unrest soon to come.

The “BUG” cast feeds the show’s atmosphere of quiet, stifling terror: Ali Pinkerton portrays Agnes, a spunky skeptic determined to live a normal life but who can’t seem to let go of her demons; Peter, played by Jake Van Hoorn, is an endearing and relatable breath of fresh air until the room grows sour with his secrets and suspicion; Kyle Redmon plays Jerry, Agnes’s unnerving ex-husband with a short temper; RC, portrayed by Krystal Adams, is the grounding sense of reason in the midst of madness; and Christine Takata is Dr. Sweet, a foreboding relic of Peter’s past with unclear intentions.

This production of “BUG” is not for the faint of heart. As the show progresses, early hints of madness dive dangerously into full-blown paranoia, manifesting the terrors tormenting every character. Doubts become commonplace, and everything is questioned down to the existence of the elusive bugs: Where did the bugs come from? Are they even real? Or are they an illusion brought on by anxiety and treachery? By the end of the show, the audience shares this weight of uncertainty; even as a spectator, there is no comfort of conviction or insight. The truth is obscure, and reality is blurred – and if you don’t know what is real, how do you know who to trust?

“BUG” runs at the Corn Stock Winter Playhouse on March 4-5 & March 10-12 at 7:30 p.m., with a final matinee on March 13 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students, and are available at the Corn Stock box office, by calling 309-676-2196 or online at

Posted on March 2, 2016