note: entire contents copyright 2009 by Beverly Creasey
Those of you familiar with the Kopit work, END OF THE WORLD WITH SYMPOSIUM TO FOLLOW, will be happy to hear that Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s apocalyptic BOOM (at New Rep through March 13th) is a lot funnier. But like the Kopit play, it’s a bit messy, chiefly because Nachtrieb wants to preserve a little kick (or should I say ‘splash’) for the end of his play. BOOM doesn’t need the set-up or the payoff because the story in between has legs (or rather, ‘fins’). Fish, specifically damsel fish, figure prominently in BOOM.
The story inside the “joke” features two adorable misfits: The scientist (Scott Sweatt) who predicts an imminent “boom” the size of the comet which caused the extinction of dinosaurs….and the young woman (Zofia Gozynska) who answers his posting on Craigslist, although she has no idea their “date” will last forever. He thinks they will save the human race by propagating in his duct taped bomb shelter. The fly in the ointment is her emphatic resistance to his plan.
The even bigger monkey wrench in the proceedings is Nachtrieb’s penchant for incessant stops and starts, courtesy of a narrator of sorts. Karen MacDonald engineers repetitive resuscitations and interruptions which only serve to stop the momentum of the story. We’re amused by the adversarial relationship of the last two survivors on earth (if you don’t count the fish): Their story is much more compelling than hers.
Sweatt brings a delightful quirkiness to the character of the booksmart scientist and Gozynska manages to impart vulnerability beneath her foul mouthed bravado. MacDonald does her best as our slightly deranged guide to the universe. Director Kathleen O’Leary keeps the action lively in what could have been a dynamite one-act but is just too thin (and long) for a full length play.