November 19, 2009
If a comet were to crash into the Earth, it would make quite a dent.
But in director Ryan Rillette's production of Peter Sinn Nachtrieb's play Boom, this colossal event elicits more of a whimper than a bang on stage. This Bay Area premiere staging of the comedy which centers on a young biologist's madcap plan to save the human race by Marin Theatre Company misses a great opportunity to rock the audience's socks.
There are all kinds of ways directors, designers and actors can create a huge explosion on stage. The scenery could collapse, people could smack into each other or physically hurtle into the wings. Soot, cement dust or water could rain down. There could be blood. The lights could go crazy, as could the sound.
What we get in this production of Boom instead are some malfunctioning lights, a couple of bits of scenery coming unhinged and two actors collapsing (which they do throughout the show anyway.)
I hear from friends who saw versions of the play in New York and Seattle, that those productions made much more of the comet's impact.
How would you stage this scene?