Splinter Group Theatre Company Focuses on Working Class Stories

By Bonnie North, wuwm.com

Before playwright Tracy Letts won the Pulitzer for August, Osage County in 2008, he had already written three plays and was an accomplished stage and screen actor.  Bug, Letts’ second play published in the mid 1990s, opens the third season of the Splinter Group theatre company.

“Our esthetic is sort of skewed towards working class people trying to overcome odds. That’s a sweet spot for us as a company. We like to take a look at families and just regular, blue collar, working class folk who are trying to make a positive change in their lives,” Jim Farrel says. Farrel is Splinter’s co-founder and artistic director.

Bug, which opens Thursday at the group’s space in the Marion Center for Nonprofits in St. Francis, is one of those working class stories. Peter is an Iraq war veteran convinced that the U.S. government had been conducting experiments on him, and Agnes lives alone in a rundown motel on the outskirts of Oklahoma City. Their growing relationship turns into a love story masked as a psychological thriller.

“It’s an absolutely beautiful script about people who are down and out who are trying to find themselves, and they have this last shot of love and they go for it. And the consequences of their love are very dramatic,” Farrell says.

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