The director chose a challenging play for a small cast.
The stage in McCreless Theatre has been transformed to resemble a shabby motel room for the production of “Bug,” a play written by Tracy Letts, author of “August: Osage County.”
“August: Osage County,” Letts’ 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, was adapted into an Oscar-nominated film in 2013 with Meryl Streep taking the lead role of Violet Weston.
“Bug,” which debuts at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15, is a black comedy about paranoia, conspiracy theories and the development of an obsessive romance.
Theater Coordinator Paula Rodriguez, who has been an instructor at this college for 15 years, said this is one of the more challenging plays she has directed.
“The characters go through a lot of damage and change,” she said. “It’s hard for the actors to get into the skin of these characters. They cry, scream, suffer.”
Rodriguez said this is not a play for children; because it contains profanity, drug use and mature subject matter.
The play, which was made into a film in 2006 starring Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon, follows the encounters of Agnes White, a waitress seeking refuge from her physically abusive ex-husband, Jerry Goss. He is fresh out of prison and searching for her.
While hiding out in the motel room, Agnes is introduced to Peter Evans, a wandering Gulf War veteran with whom she becomes romantically involved.
Over time, Peter reveals a growing paranoia about many conspiracies that include flying saucers and government experiments on soldiers.
Agnes is eventually influenced by Peter’s insanity and becomes paranoid herself.
Five actors have been cast in “Bug” with theater major sophomore Arianna Angeles for the lead role of Agnes White and theater major sophomore Ryan Willis playing Peter.
Each year, the directors in the theater program strategically pick three to four productions for the college to produce.
Rodriguez said the productions chosen each year depend on the number of students, the amount of space available for a production, the time of year and the types of shows the program has had in the past.
Rodriguez said that she chose “Bug” because she was looking for a small cast show and she is a fan of Letts’ work.
She also wanted a project that would challenge her students while challenging herself.
She believes it is important for people to see “Bug” because her students have dedicated a great deal of time and energy into this play.
The crew is made up of theater students.
“They build and paint the sets themselves,” she said. “Students sew all of the costumes.”
Rodriguez said this college has one of the strongest theater programs in the state, and she wants audience members to see that.
The theater program has received multiple Globe Awards from the Alamo Theatre Arts Council in the past that include best supporting actor in a play for “Dracula” in 2017, best costume design for “Servant of Two Masters” in 2016 and best scene design for “Harvey” that same year.
“Bug” is at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15-17, 22-24 and 2:30 p.m. Feb. 18 and 25 in McCreless.
The cast will participate in a talk-back Feb. 22 after the show in which audience members will be able to converse with the cast and ask questions.
American Sign Language interpretations of the play will be provided Feb. 17 and 25.
Tickets are $5 with a SAC ID; $8 for other college students, seniors and military; and general admission is $10.
For information, call Rodriguez at 210-486-0492.