Dark comedy ‘boom’ explores world’s end through antics of introverted, mad scientist

The Daily News

When a mad scientist predicts the end of the world, he turns to creating a scandalous Craiglist ad in hopes of saving all of humanity.

The dark comedy “boom” opens Thursday in Cave Theatre. Student director Luke McLaughlin said the show blends science and humor in a way that he has longed to see more of in theatre productions.

“I wanted to change it up a little bit,” McLaughlin said on why he picked the show. “I wanted to choose something fun, yet challenging at the same time.”

“Boom” is McLaughlin’s directorial debut, but he is no newcomer to the art of theater. He has previously been an actor and stage manager. 

The play mocks many of the apocalyptic theories that have become popular in recent times, such as the end of the Mayan calendar. McLaughlin explained that underneath all of the comedic content, the play makes the audience evaluate what’s important in life. It provides insight on how people view one another and place judgment in ways they may not be aware of.

Sophomore Zach Tabor plays Jules, the protagonist of the story. Jules is a nerdy introverted character that believes that in order to save the world he must reproduce swiftly.

“[He’s] a scientist that predicts the end of the world,” Tabor said. “In order to populate the earth, he traps a woman in his lair.” 

He described Jules as being disturbing to everyone but himself. He’s misunderstood by the world around him, yet his intentions at heart are pure.

Tabor favors working with student directors as opposed to traditional ones. He felt that as a team it was easier for them to put their heads together while brainstorming ideas.

“We’re all students, and we’re all learning,” he said. “With a professor, there is always going to be that awkward boundary.” 

Brandon Reed, a junior theatre studies and telecommunications major, described “boom” as a play within a play. The narration is set in the future while the scenes containing the protagonist and antagonist are set in present time. The play’s narrator controls the characters in the modern world by pulling robotic levers and switches.   

Reed, who is the sound design technician, described the futuristic nature of the show as being a large factor for what types of sounds to create for the production. Between the robotic noises heard from the narrator’s machine and the actual “boom” sound that the play is titled after, a lot time was spent in finding and designing the right sound effects. 

“[The sound effects] is what makes the concept of the play come to life,” Reed said. 

Reed said “boom” is a play that can’t be judged by its cover. 

“You think it will be serious at first, but then it takes a whole completely different term from what you expect,” he said.