Ignition Theatre launches season with psychological thriller

Ignition Theatre is prepping for a bold new season in a brand new venue with its first theatrical outing Bug.

Described as a ‘psycho-thriller’, Bug, which was penned by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning playwright Tracy Letts, runs Oct. 20-22 and Oct. 25-29 on the Nickle Studio Stage at the Memorial Centre.

Curtain is 7:30 p.m.

“Bug has so many things going for it,” said Matt Grue, director. “At its core, it is a love story, albeit an ultimately destructive and unhealthy one. It’s a piece that examines pain without resolving it. It’s exciting for everyone to try and put the pieces together, to determine if what we’re seeing or hearing is true or a delusion. Bug is a wide-awake fever dream; an intellectual adult haunted house.”

Grue said his team was on the lookout for the ideal Halloween thriller, but something along different lines than 2008’s Deathtrap.

“While Deathtrap was one of our favourite experiences as a team with the

ability to create scares with theatrical tricks of the trade, Bug

represents the opportunity to do the same in a purely psychological

fashion, something that represents our greatest collective strength as


In a seedy motel room on the outskirts of Oklahoma City, cocktail waitress Agnes invites an aloof Gulf War veteran, Peter, to spend the night. Peter identifies a bug infestation in the room, and undertakes efforts to eradicate it.

The two start to unhinge as they dig deep to uncover the source of the pests. What begins as a minor annoyance escalates into a full-blown conspiracy theory that threatens to unravel final traces of reality.

Grue describes Letts’ writing as especially exciting because so much of his work is based in the history of the characters and how influenced they are by their past.

“I suppose that’s true for most great plays and, in fact, real life – but Tracy manages to execute that model unlike any other playwright (other than, say, Tennessee Williams or Arthur Miller). His plays make you examine the text with a fine tooth comb to find all the clues to piece together a character’s history and then further force you to delve into the depths of that information to truly understand a character’s motives.”

Meanwhile, getting used to Ignition’s new digs at the Memorial Centre has been a smooth experience, said Grue. This fall marks their first season in the Nickle Studio after several years at The Matchbox.

“It’s been a little odd to be in new surroundings, but the staff at Central Alberta Theatre have been wonderful and welcoming. We built and installed a new tech booth, a new stage and our productions will not feature the traditional cabaret seating often set up in the Nickel.

“We’ve been very conscious of sight lines and ensuring that the entire audience has a good seat. Seating will be set up similarly to The Matchbox is raised rows, however seating is limited to just 46 seats.

“We’re working hard to re-brand Ignition this season, to create a different but equally fulfilling theatrical experience. We want to hear whispers about how really exciting work is happening on the third floor of the Memorial Centre and re-engage our existing audience and find that elusive new audience to keep Ignition going strong well into the future.”

Folks are reminded that Bug carries a discretionary warning for coarse language and adult themes. Tickets are $22 for adults and $18 for students and seniors and are available by calling Ignition Theatre at 403-341-6500 or going online at www.ignitiontheatre.ca. They can also be purchased at the door.

“We won’t be scaring you with loud noises and special effects, but rather by delving deep inside the minds of two unhealthy individuals who both desperately need each other and need to fill a void as they cling to their final traces of reality before ultimately getting lost in the depths of paranoia and mental illness,” explains Grue.

“It’s uncomfortable, devastating, sometimes a little gory, but always honest. You won’t have as much ‘fun’ with Bug as you might have with Deathtrap, but you’ll walk away saying to yourself ‘I have never seen anything or experienced anything like that before’.”

Next up for Ignition Theatre is Big Shot. The play runs Nov. 17-20.