It begins with the sound of drums and the crashing of cymbals and the resulting cacophony is a clue to what is to follow in the New World Arts production of “boom” (no caps!) a new play by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb .
"boom" opened Friday evening in the space upstairs at 211 S. Main Street in Goshen (entrance/parking off Third Street) and will receive its final performances tonight and Saturday.
I have to admit, I’m not exactly sure of what it’s all about but it is a highly entertaining experience. Director Scott Jackson has a way of putting together some of the best actors in the area — Melissa Gard, Sheryl Turski and Aaron Nichols — and turning them loose on off-beat, dialogue-heavy situations. As always, they are perfectly up to the challenge.
The detailed set, which holds more than meets the eye, is the best since “Who’s Afraid of Virginian Woolf?” It covers the entire playing area and extends onto the stage left audience seats. Every inch is put to good use and there is tremendous attention to detail. Here, it’s the little things that make a big difference.
The “plot” goes from quirkey to strange to wildly weird. The setting is the apartment of marine biologist Jules (no last names)(Nichols) in the basement of a building designed to be a bomb shelter. Answering his online ad for “sex to change the course of the world,” 22-year-old journalist Jo (Turski) is understandably disconcerted when Jules announces, after one highly disappointing kiss, that he is gay and has never had sex. Neither, it turns out, has Jo.
His aim is to repopulate the world after the catastrophe. To prepare for the years it will take the dust to settle, he has stocked the apartment with wildly diverse “necessities” including diapers, plastic cups, tampons, bourbon, Disney DVDs and toilet paper. Unfortunately, Jo makes no bones of the fact that she hates babies and would prefer “to start a new line of homo sapiens.”
A focal point of the room is a fish tank in which swim two fish, John-John and Dorothy. By was of explanation, Jules notes that he spent many years on an island studying the effects of sun, etc., on fish and has detected strange patterns which lead him to believe that the fish can sense the passage of a comet and, now, a globally catastrophic event.
When the catastrophe occurs (boom!) it unhappily caves in the roof of the storage room, and the couple is forced to seek a way to find something better and exit the apartment in a blaze of light (and, of course, a big boom).
Sounds rather clear cut if a bit off center, right? Add to this Barbara (Gard), percussionist extraordinaire. Backed by a curtain of stars, she is initially silent and then intrudes more and more frequently to “explain” what’s going on, which only adds to the confusion.
OK. So is this a microcosm of planet earth and the universe and is Barbara God’s right hand person or is she a docent in a “Museum of Epic and Internet Events”?
I am sure there are any number of interpretations but Jackson & Co. just let you choose your own. Whatever works. And in the hands of the excellent trio of performers, many options seem logical. Bottom line, even if you can’t figure it out, you’ll have a great time trying.
NOTE: Very special praise for Angelique Birky-Hartmann who is in charge of the “catch of the day.” Good thing she not claustrophobic.
“boom” will be presented at 8 p.m. today and Saturday in the theater at 211 S. Main Street in Goshen. Tickets at the door.