Tucked between King and Regina streets in uptown Waterloo, the Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre is this year celebrating its eightieth year of hosting performing arts for the community.

On April 14 KWLT premiered Hunting Cockroaches. Written by Polish-American Janusz Glowacki in 1987, this play explores the anxieties and plights of a Polish couple that has immigrated to New York City in the 1980s. Martin Glassford directed KWLT’s performance.

Hunting Cockroach’s opening night provided the audience with a captivating and well-performed show, snacks and a preview of next season’s shows during the intermission.

The play revolved around nights when you can’t fall asleep, the nights where you go over everything in your head, questioning your life and all the decisions you’ve made. It also provided an audience with a glimpse into the minds of immigrants as they settled into a new country.

The cockroaches are real—infesting the couple’s apartment—and metaphorical. The show circles back to Kafka’s Metamorphisis, and how the immigrants themselves feel like they are feeding off of NYC, taking the city’s leftovers to decorate their apartment.

“Should we go back?”

Throughout the play, the couple Janek and Anka circle back to that question, often also reflecting that “this is a strange country.” They explore their options for work and navigate their strange interactions with other New Yorkers with a quirky and twisted sense of humor. This dark comedy tackles the struggles people experience when starting a new life.

Glassford, the director, positions the audience in the couple’s bedroom. However, the audience also becomes the bedroom. Subtle interactions and placement allows the audience to become immersed in the story and the show.

KWLT is entirely volunteer-run. It was founded in Kitchener-Waterloo in 1935. Following a fire in 2002, the theatre took advantage of the supportive community and continued rehearsing and performing in other spaces throughout the region. The theatre itself was the sole surviving space of the fire, and the new building was built around it, reopening in 2009.

KWLT’s final show for its eightieth season is Hair, directed by Colleen Matthews Daley, coming this June. The upcoming season is bringing a variety of performances, including Lucky Stiff, a musical comedy of murder; Scrooge MacBeth, Christmas meets Shakespeare; and the widely successful Legally Blonde the Musical.

Hunting Cockroaches will be playing at KWLT for the remainder of April.