Wednesday, May 05, 2010

A Sense of Impending "boom"

posted by Dan Steele at 8:31 PM

That's "boom" with a small "b," as playwright Peter Sinn Nachtrieb is quick to point out. That small "b" is critical to understanding the feelings rooted in this amazing play, next up from the Furious Theatre Company. Smallness, insignificance, purposelessness and the rebellion against all three come into stark focus through as many characters in one of the most produced plays of the past theatre year.

Those feelings were exactly the focus of Damaso Rodriguez's first read-thru in the Library at the Pasadena Playhouse. He asked everyone to explain the first time they felt small, sharing his own experience of seeing the moon for the first time. Julia Duffy mentioned finally seeing the ocean at the age of 19, a far cry from the land of 10,000 lakes from which she hails. Our Sound Designer, Doug Newell, mentioned seeing a jumbo tron, once mammoth on TV, then dwarfed in person against the stadium of a Houston Astros baseball game. Ensemble members' memories varied, turning at times religious (St. Peter's Basilica at The Vatican), to scientific (how can airplanes actually barrel through the sky like that, anyway?), to existential (an only child learning that the cosmos actually DON'T revolve around her). I mentioned the fact that most of matter is just empty space, a mind-warping fact that to this day still makes me feel infinitesimal against the complexities of the universe.

This play and those sentiments remind me of a poem, "The Hollow Men" by T.S. Elliot which finishes,

"This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper"

Stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes blogs about our rehearsal process counting down to the impending "boom" opening May 22nd at the Carrie Hamilton Theater at the Pasadena Playhouse!


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