A theater troupe called Under the Table is performing a work during the Berkshire Fringe Festival in which bed bugs feature heavily. Chronogram Magazine reports,
Under the Table’s piece, “The Only Friends We Have,” was developed through improv and draws on the performers’ clown training. This “antisocial comedy” has both a script and slapstick motifs.” It’s a window into the lives of three friends who are all eccentric characters, and their tangled relationships,” explains Sarah Petersiel, a troupe member.
“And it’s about negotiating desire, fear, and infestation.” The infestation refers to bedbugs. Why bedbugs? “That aspect does come from our lived experience,” Petersiel says. “Josh and I, in two different apartments, had bedbugs. We no longer do; we’re survivors. So we have a lot to say about the neurosis, the exhaustion, the paranoia, the fascination that sets in when you have bedbugs.”
Under the Table has been developing the piece for a year and a half, and this is its premiere. “The Only Friends We Have” will include a puppet and a remote-controlled robot, both in the shape of bedbugs.
One of the reasons bed bugs are spreading so easily is that many businesses, organizations, and government officials do not understand what a serious problem they can be. Even conveying to your mother, friend, or partner what the experience of a bed bug infestation is like is very difficult.
Bed bugs appearing in plays, movies, television shows, essays and novels can only help convey the experience of bed bugs for those who haven’t been through it themselves, and that is a good thing. Like all of us who try and spread the word to others what it is like to have bed bugs, I am glad Under the Table will convey to audiences “the neurosis, the exhaustion, the paranoia, the fascination that sets in when you have bedbugs.”
The Berkshire Fringe festival takes place on the Simon’s Rock of Bard campus from July 16th – August 4th.