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Friday, March 16, 2012

What To Do This Weekend: Non-Irish Edition

Posted By on Fri, Mar 16, 2012 at 12:00 PM

  • John Lamb

This weekend, thousands of St. Louisans will fill the streets and the pubs, using a saint they know little about to celebrate a heritage they likely lack.

If wearing green, drinking Guinness and starting riots isn't your bag, how about ditching the kilt for something a bit more comfortable? This weekend, the Kranzberg Arts Center (501 North Grand Boulevard) hosts a different kind of debauchery (sub crack and domestic abuse for green beer and shirtless fist fights) with Muddy Waters Theatre's production of Tracy Letts' Bug.

A cursory spin through the playbill primes the viewer for a sci-fi-psychotic hallucination that will render every character in the small cast naked, dead or both. So much for nuance -- except Letts connects the over-the-top dots with moments of tragic comedy and oddball intimacy. Unable to move on after the loss of her six-year-old son nearly a decade ago, Agnes White (Kirsten Wylder) has devolved into a hermitic drug addict. Her ex-husband, Jerry Goss (Jared Sanz-Agero), pays frequent unsolicited visits to her cruddy motel digs now that he's out of prison, uttering threatening proclamations of "love," often following through with his fists.

But then preternaturally eloquent vagrant Peter Evans (Justin Ivan Brown )materializes, causing an eddy in the current of drugs and beatings. The change begins with (what else?) drugs and a beating -- the former shared, the latter courtesy of (who else?) Jerry. A crack-fueled interlude of desperate cruddy-motel sex seals their bond, and their fate. Under Cameron Ulrich's direction, Wylder imbues her self-deprecating affectations with humor and bite, while Brown captivates with his chameleonic portrayal of an unstable (but not unendearing) man on the run, from meek introduction to explosive exit.

Performances of Bug continue Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. through Sunday, March 25. Tickets are $25 ($20 for students, seniors and active-duty military personnel). Call 314-971-3143 or visit

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