This is a difficult story. Yolanda Bonnell's solo show, bug, is a daring construction which weaves creation story with real life and esoteric worlds to create a moment in which we witness all the joy and pain, hope and despair of a young indigenous woman. She is many women. Women whose babies are taken, or whose daughters and sisters and mothers and aunts disappear or are killed. The women Bonnell shares with us, however, have hope. Hope that they can and will do better.
The physical work in the play is beautiful. Haunting images of Bonnell dancing, creating shapes to transform the space, throwing herself on the ground, or reaching oh so gently for the little ladybug. Situating the audience in a sharing circle, Bonnell connects eye to eye with many of the audience members. This isn't simply a performance, it is a shared story, which does not allow the audience to sit back. It is difficult viewing, but intentionally so.
Director Cole Alvis does a great job pacing the production to build tension and release just where we need it. The production team's choice to share the creation story of the top, and also to bring a spiritual healer to each performance is a wise one. Despite the hopeful tone, the real pain of the characters is palpable, and audience members are visibly shaken.
This is a challenging, emotional piece of theatre, and one that needs to keep living across the country.