‘Hunting Cockroaches’ comes to UT theaterWritten by Brian Bohnert | | firstname.lastname@example.org
A local performing arts company is bringing independent theater to the University of Toledo this weekend.
Toledo-based Glacity Theatre Collective will present Janusz Glowacki’s “Hunting Cockroaches” in the Studio Theatre at UT’s Center for Performing Arts. The show will run June 22-24 with 8 p.m. showings on June 22 and 23 and a 2 p.m. showing on June 24.
“Hunting Cockroaches” is a dark comedy centered around two Polish artists who move into the slums of New York in the 1980s after being exiled from their homeland. Now in America, the two must struggle to rebuild their lives.
“It’s a black comedy in that a lot of the humor is found in the problems the couple is facing,” said Holly Monsos, managing director for Glacity. “The play has to do with a couple who were successful in their home country but come to U.S. during the ’80s when there was still Communism. … The play looks at what they’re going through over one sleepless night.”
The play stars local director and actor Cornel Gabara as Jan, a professional writer, and Jennifer Nagy-Lake as his actress wife, Anka. Both Gabara and Nagy-Lake are veterans in the local theater scene.
Nagy-Lake is no stranger to playing characters with accents. Anka’s thick Polish accent was something she had an ear for, thanks in part to her Hungarian-native grandparents.
“It was a lot of fun,” Nagy-Lake said. “I love doing accents. I have an ear for them. My grandparents were Hungarian and they had a thick Hungarian accent. … So, I kind of developed an ear for it.”
Always finding a connection to her characters, Nagy-Lake shares a commonality with her Polish alter-ego: In the fictional world of the play, Anka was famous for portraying Lady Macbeth; in the real world, Nagy-Lake has enjoyed her own success portraying the iconic female lead. She is even set to portray the character again later this summer.
“I like [Anka]. She’s fun,” Nagy-Lake said. “She has a thick accent so she can’t work, but she’s very strong. She believes in her husband more than he believes in himself and she loves him very much. They have a really strong relationship but their insomnia and their fears kind of overtake them.”
While the actress did not find many challenges in the performance aspect of the play, Nagy-Lake said it was difficult to maintain the comedy aspect of the play while still keeping the underlying “dark subject matter.”
This weekend’s showings of “Hunting Cockroaches” are not the first in the play’s run in Toledo. While last weekend did not draw the crowd Glacity would have liked, Monsos said the second set of shows usually draws the largest audience.
“The show went very well,” Monsos said. “We do unusual plays and we move around a lot so people usually like to wait and see what the show’s all about. We usually have a lot better house on the second weekend.”
Glacity was created five years ago, and, since its beginnings, the company has taken great pride in providing quality artistic performances in unusual, unconventional venues.
“We’re interested in focusing on the play script and the art of the play, not the spectacle of it all,” she said. “We often play in non-traditional spaces. We very rarely play in an actual theater. We’ve played in shops, Studio A in the Valentine Theatre … we even played our first show in a former frame shop. … We like being right up in the face of the audience. As an audience member, you see the sweat and the expressions on the actors’ faces as they’re performing.”
Tickets are $20 and are available at glacity.tix.com or at the door on the days of the show.