BUG (2014)


Agnes is a divorced woman hiding out from her violent ex-husband in a bare motel room. She longs for love and tenderness. A girlfriend puts her in contact Peter, a reserved and sensitive man who offers her love and protection. He moves in with her and discovers that her motel room is infested with vermin. His revulsion starts to take on obsessive forms. He suspects the outside world of a conspiracy and becomes increasingly isolated. He starts descending into a delusional state, dragging Agnes in with him, drawing them both into a spiral of fear and suspicion. Both Peter and Agnes are lost and damaged souls. In order to survive they clutch onto one another – without boundaries.



After seeing the film version of the eponymous work by American author Tracy Letts, Ahlbom became fascinated by the book, the impotence and defencelessness of the two protagonists, and the ultimate escape they choose. Ahlbom explores the overlap between love and madness, and the other options they offer. His enquiry into insanity is central to play. Is Peter in fact mad? And is his submission to his madness not actually an attempt to find happiness, to survive, and to avoid having to face the harsh realities of life.


Tracy Letts (b. 1965) became known in the Netherlands through a stage production of Augustus: Oklahoma by Utrechtse Spelen theatre company. Letts has won a variety of American prestigious stage awards including a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award. The film version of the 1996 novel Bug was released in 2006, winning the International Federation of Film Critics award.

In the media

“Their subtle acting performances are redolent of intense science fiction; their increasingly grotesque struggle is infectiously comedic.”
NRC Handelsblad
“One of Ahlbom’s greatest strengths is the way he creates disorienting and elusive situations in which nothing is what it seems.”
“Ahlbom achieves a balance theatrical setting for Letts text by doing what he he does best: creating dark and intensely atmospheric scenes.”
“What remains with you is Ahlbom’s surrealistic imagery.”
Het Parool
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Text: Tracy Letts
Translator: Jan Doense, with Ditke Schwartz and Judith Wendel
Director: Jakop Ahlbom
Director’s assistant: Merel Smitt Dramaturge: Judith Wendel Cast: Bram Coopmans, Tamar van den Dop, Sofieke de Kater, Rutger Kroon, Reinier Schimmel/Luc van Esch Music: Alamo Race Track Set design: Catharina Scholten Costume designer: Carly Everaert Lighting design: Yuri Schreuders Set assistant: Nicolien de Jong Set makers: Brinkman Decor / Gert Jan Brinkman & Remco Gianotten Assistent video: Huig van den Hoofdakker Technicians: Marcel Slagter, Allard Vonk, Koen te Poele, Yuri Schreuders
Management and Sales: Wilma Kuite/Alles voor de Kunsten
Production: Janneke den Engelsen
Tour manager: Emmalot Morel
Publicity: Christel Gouweleeuw, Nina Angkotta / Alles voor de Kunsten
Stage photography: Sanne Peper
Poster image: Paulina Matusiak and Eddy Werntink
Graphic design: Paulina Matusiak

Made possible by financial support from: Performing Arts Fund, Gemeente Amsterdam

Performance dates

No current performances

Premiere: Sat 8 February 2014, Toneelschuur, Haarlem

Tour: 4 February to 18 May 2014