- (Illustration: Robert Meganck)
The drama inherent in battling a pervasive bedbug infestation can hardly be overstated. And after spending years becoming reluctant experts on the cringe-worthy subject, the Norwood Tenants Association is hoping to bring their story to the most appropriate venue they can think of: the stage.
These days, the residents of the 84-unit rent-controlled Norwood Apartments near Logan Circle mostly have their bedbug problems under control. "We don't have a building-wide infestation anymore, but we do have flare-ups," co-president Silvia Salazar told the close to 200 attendees of the D.C. government's second ever Bedbug Summit Thursday afternoon.
The idea to write and perform a play came out of what Salazar describes as one of Norwood's biggest lessons in its quest to eradicate bedbugs over the last several years (a journey that at one point earned the tenants association a Washington City Paper cover story and an eventual invitation to testify before Congress): passing out fliers and posting signs on bedbug prevention and treatment just doesn't work as well as physically demonstrating the same techniques.
"How-to demos are the most effective thing," said Salazar. "People will glance at fliers, and they still might not get it."
The play, which Salazar says the association hopes both to stage and to videotape and post online, is all part of a larger effort to spark a national dialog on the growing bedbug menace. The Norwood residents have already registered and created their own website, www.stopbedbugs.org, and are now in the business of applying for grants to fill it up with helpful content. The play would be written, directed, and acted by Norwood tenants, and would feature dramatic reenactments of actual bedbug-related issues they have faced.
While the association waits for word on whether the Commission on Arts and Humanities will agree to fund their theatrical endeavor, Salazar is busy accepting speaking engagements on bedbugs.
"The first thing we did was we came out of the closet," Salazar said, describing the shame and humiliation that can often come along with infestations. Bedbugs "are way more organized than we are ... let's just accept that they are here."
Got your own bedbug problem? Don't miss TBD's comprehensive guide on the subject.