Pensacola, Florida
Thursday December 14th 2017

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Bugging Out

By Shelby Nalepa

The guys from comedy sketch group Kitty Get a Job are delving into something a little different: directing a play. Director and lead actor Kyle Golden and co-director and producer Chris Jadallah will put on a production of “Bug” at the Pensacola Little Theatre premiering Nov. 29.

Normally, producing, directing and starring in short video skits, Golden and Jadallah will try their hand at theatre in this dark, gripping play about mental illness.

“The play is kind of a really weird love story that’s hinged on PTSD and attachment issues,” he said. “It shows what happens when you trust and love somebody but when mental illnesses interfere and aren’t handled properly.”

The play, by Tracy Letts, centers on Agnes, a divorced waitress who’s living in isolation in a motel room, and Peter, a drifter with past traumas. Their relationship blossoms into a romance, but then quickly dives deep into paranoia, fear and twisted psychological motives as all of their past issues come to the forefront.

“‘Bug’ deals with a lot of mental illnesses and taboo psychological trauma that aren’t normally talked about,” Jadallah said. “It deals with hard topics like anxiety, depression, PTSD, obsession, anger and domestic violence and what it looks like when these things slip out of control. We are trying to start a dialogue that will maybe bridge the gap, so we aren’t so afraid to talk about these issues. We want to send a message that it’s okay to get help.”

Jadallah said that there will be counselors on hand at the play for anyone who feels inspired to set up an appointment that night.

“We are going to open the play by encouraging people to talk to someone if they need help and we’ll have counselors’ phone numbers on the playbill,” he said.

Jadallah said that he hopes the production, which will be a late night show, will tap into a darker side of Pensacola art and theatre.

“I think Pensacola is ready for something like this,” Jadallah said. “This show won’t be light and fluffy, it’s sort of hyperrealism and getting into why art exists. All of the best songs, all of the best art and movies deal with hard topics and the big thing is letting people know that they aren’t alone.”

Jadallah said that he and Golden hope to push the boundaries with the play and see the potential growth for more productions like it.

Golden has played in numerous productions at the University of West Florida and is a member of Improvable Cause.

“Kyle brought it to my attention about a year ago,” Jadallah said. “He’s my partner in most things and he’s been talking about doing it for a while, so I told him let’s do it. It’s something he’s always wanted to do. One of his favorite actors, Michael Shannon, is in the movie adaptation. He hopes to test his acting chops and see how deep he can go.”

Also the owner of Calliope Films, this will be the filmmaker’s first time directing a play.

“It’s definitely more difficult,” Jadallah said. “We’ve got four chances to get the production where it needs to be. With a film I can redo it and cut it to exactly how I envisioned it, but with a play I can’t control it as much. It’s quite a big commitment. There are a lot of similarities, but at the end of the day it is a live production.”

Jadallah and Golden are renting a space from the Pensacola Little Theatre and said that they are thankful the company has agreed to show the edgier play. They started a Go Fund Me to help raise money to put on the production.

“This is an independent production that is totally not for profit,” Jadallah said. “We hope to break even and any extra money we plan to give to the actors. We want to start doing two plays a year that push the boundaries and see the potential growth for more productions like it.”

BUG
WHAT: A play by Tracy Letts
WHEN: 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29-Saturday, Dec. 2
WHERE: M.C. Blanchard Courtroom Theatre, 400 S. Jefferson St.
COST: $16
DETAILS: eventbrite.com/e/bug-by-tracey-letts-tickets-38882715248
or gofundme.com/help-us-bring-bug-to-the-stage