Stories about the end of the world are nothing new, says Amy Lane.
It's just that we've had so many of them since 9/11: “Contagion,” in which a virus is the villain. “Deep Impact,” featuring a comet. “The Day After Tomorrow,” taking global warming to an extreme. “Melancholia,” in which planets collide.
“I think there have always been these kinds of stories, back to biblical times,” said Lane, who is directing another at the Omaha Community Playhouse. “boom,” a comedy by Peter Nachtrieb, opens Friday in the Howard Drew Theatre.
A lot of those previous stories have a religious bent, Lane said. “boom” is different because it takes a scientific point of view — and because it's funny.
“This is a young biologist,” she said. “If he knows when the comet will hit, what preparations should he make for the future, to repopulate the planet? It's a more practical point of view.”
Ben Beck plays the biologist, who prepares an underground bunker and runs an ad seeking a partner for “intensely significant coupling.” Amy Schweid plays the only girl who answers the ad, minsinterpreting its meaning.
She has a genetic mutation. He's gay. They're the world's worst potential roommates.
Lane said it's good that “boom” is opening in October, since some say the Mayan calendar indicates Earth's end will come in December.
“Nachtrieb is playing on all those fears that are prevalent now,” Lane said. “But he focuses not on the end, but on the miracle of survival and hope that there will be something after.”
Even in the face of something cataclysmic, Lane said, “boom” suggests there's something eternal about all of us and that we retain a sense of hope.
“boom” was the most produced comedy of the 2009-10 season nationally, which drew it to Lane's attention. She chose it to launch the Playhouse's adult series of staged readings, 21 & Over, in October 2010. It contains profanity and sexually explicit dialogue.
Now that the Playhouse is staging edgier contemporary works in the Howard Drew this season, “boom” again seemed a good choice.
“We just had a long, heavy, big-cast family drama, ‘August, Osage County,'” Lane said. “This 85-minute, intermissionless comedy with just three characters seemed a good balance for our next adult-themed show.”
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