An explosive, apocalyptic comedy will be the third offering from QC Theatre Workshop, as "boom" opens tonight at the former Johnson Elementary School in Davenport that serves as the troupe's intimate, stylish home.
Last summer, QCTW debuted with the Tony-winning "Red," and followed up this past January with the dramatic comedy, "Private Eyes." This time, director Tyson Danner recently said, the three-character, 90-minute "boom" is nearly all laughs.
"It sounded like such a cool, unique play -- unlike anything I'd ever heard of," he said of the comedy which premiered off-Broadway in 2008.
"boom" opens with aplanned hook-up between Jules, a marine-biology graduate student, and Jo, an undergrad majoring injournalism. Yet, a romantic evening clearly is not in the cards when Jules informs Jo that a comet isabout to hit the Earth, and he and Jo consequently are responsible for re-populating the planet – aprospect made more challenging by Jules being gay, and Jo admitting that she hates babies "physically, philosophically and symbolically."
Will the human race endure? And who is that odd woman yanking nearby levers and pulleys? While ostensibly set in the present, Mr. Danner said the script calls its time period: "When we least expect it."
Of "boom," The New Yorker wrote, "Peter Sinn Nachtrieb's play flips from pants-around-the-ankles comedy to hipster Twilight Zone takeoff," and called the comedy "imaginative and easy to like." The New York Times praised the author's "gift for darkly funny dialogue and appealing way of approaching big themes sideways." And Backstage described "boom" as "an imaginative piece of social satire," adding Mr. Nachtrieb's "sharp wit" resulted in a play that was "experimental and entertaining."
There are "a couple fun surprises toward the end of the play," Mr. Danner said, including the significance of a fish that is onstage throughout the intermission-less piece. Because of the play's strong language and adult themes, "boom" is recommended for mature audiences.
Mr. Danner previously directed the two-character "Red" at QCTW, and his other directing credits includethe Curtainbox Theatre Company's "TimeStands Still," and the Green Room Theatre's "Doubt," "john & jen" and "Songs for a New World."
A leading actor from "Red" and "Private Eyes,"Thomas Alan Taylor here plays Jules;Jessica Denney ("Private Eyes," "Time Stands Still" and "Mr. Marmalade") is Jo, and Angela Elliott (the District Theatre's "Company," the Harrison Hilltop Theatre's "Sweeney Todd" and "Sunday in the Park with George," the Green Room Theatre's "Steel Magnolias" and "Eleemosynary") portrays the mysterious Barbara.
"It's nice to be able to work with the same people a lot," Mr. Danner said. "You really develop a sense, develop a shorthand with each other. It's also great to have new faces like Angela involved. It brings new ideas, new energy."
Like its previous stagings," "boom" also will be presented under the workshop's unique "Pay What's It's Worth" policy, which allows audiencemembers to determine their own ticket prices following each performance. Guests see the play first and then pay on their way out, allowing viewers to determine what theexperience was worth to them personally. This strategy was designed to create an accessible theatrical experience regardless of financial means, and has been successful so far, Mr. Danner said.
-- What: QC Theatre Workshop's "boom."
-- When: 7:30 p.m. tonight through Saturday, plus May 9 to 11 and May 16 to 18.
-- Where: 1730 Wilkes Avenue, Davenport.
-- Tickets: "Pay what it's worth" (see the play first and pay on your way out); 563-650-2396, QCTheatreWorkshop.org.