Black Lab Theatre is busy putting the bang into the BOOM by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb. The cast and crew are hard at work rehearsing their upcoming production of the popular dark comedy. During Friday evening's rehearsal break Jordan Jaffe, Black Lab Theatre's Artistic Director who is playing Jules in the show, Lindsay Ehrhardt, who is playing Jo in the show, Justin Doran, who is directing the show, Aaron Garrett, who is one Assistant Director, and Luna Oliveira, Black Lab Theatre's Dramaturg and also an Assistant Director for the show, all sat down with me to talk about BOOM, the apocalypse, and Black Lab Theatre's upcoming season.
How did you decided to program BOOM? Did the theories about 2012 bringing about the end of the world have any impact on your decisions?
Jordan Jaffe (JJ): Well, I'd had the script for about a year or so, and I just loved it. It was really funny. I was kind of waiting for the right time to do it, and I figured I'd just kind of take advantage of the fact that it is 2012 and this could pretty well be our last opportunity to do this play. (Laughs) But, also keeping with what I want to do with Black Lab [Theatre] is to kind of be part of the national trends, cultural phenomena, and what's really happening now, you know. Present in our society is this theme of the end of the world in 2012, and it is really popular. But also this is a play that's been done all over the country and in New York, so I'm very, very pleased to be doing the Houston premiere of this particular work.
What type, if any, research did the cast and/or crew do to prepare for BOOM?
Justin Doran (JD): To answer your question directly, the research that we did obviously has a strong biology slant, and we're very fortunate that the two assistant directors on this program have very strong science backgrounds. Luna is a biologist, and we're very interested in the notion that the play presents about this argument between, if you can break it down, evolution and also creationism. Then, it also raises some questions about intelligent design. We've been approaching our research from a biology standpoint, and I'll let Luna talk a little bit about what we discovered about the embryos of the human and the actual fish in utero. So, I'll turn it over to Luna, who is our resident biological dramaturg here.
Luna Oliveira (LO): (Laughs) Well, doing my research I found out that human embryos and fish embryos are actually very alike until they reach seven days, and they look exactly the same. And humans, when they're embryos, they have these structures on their necks, or basically where their neck would be, that look like gills. In fish embryos these structures evolve, I guess, to gills, and in humans those structures turn into their inner-ear bones. So that...
JD: So, could the play happened? Yes, it could! There's a line in here about the series of consequences, and I believe it is Jules' line. (Asking Jordan Jaffe) Do you know it off the top of your head?
JJ: Um... how's this influenced by forces from the environment or, uh, the chemicals... I forget it. (All laugh)
JD: Eventually, we'll learn this.
JD: And then we'll do this play. But about all of these random occurrences, they all lined up so that this could actually happen. And obviously, if you know the play, you have this character Barbara that might be this God/controlling figure. And another character in the play actually pokes fun at the fact that there's this person in the sky, this person right, who is controlling all of these levers and making us do the things that we do, which brings into question free will, and how much that actually exists. It's really neat because as our main characters are watching the fish, we have Barbara watching our main characters, and then we have the management structure that oversees Barbara, watching her. So, we can only imagine who is watching them and so on and so forth, and who the fish might be watching. We really like the concept and zooming in on that, I think our set will be designed around that concept as well, as we touch base on this retro-futuristic approach that we're designing from.
The main character uses Craigslist to lure his date to his basement. So, does technology play a literal and/or figurative part in the end of the world? How?